The UK’s first students to take a degree in automotive management straight from A-levels have graduated and are bringing benefits to their workplaces.
The students worked full-time in dealerships, which paid the course fees for the motor retail degree at Loughborough University, and attended lectures in four-day blocks.
One graduate is Amit Vaja. He was a new car sales consultant in Inchcape’s Cooper BMW division when he started the course three years ago, with support from the HR team and his dealer principal as mentor. He has since been promoted by Inchcape to new car transaction manager at Cooper BMW in Tunbridge Wells.
Vaja said: “I was often asked by the dealer principal to investigate an area of the business that was of concern.
“I would then allocate a few days’ research, apply a theory that I had learnt and then make recommendations.
“My dissertation was based on corporate culture and employee engagement, which resulted in us making changes within the team and is a major contributing factor to our current success.”
Vaja said his exposure by Inchcape to various parts of the business really assisted his development. Balancing studying with working life also meant that structure and organisation were critical to his development.
The degree’s programme director at Loughborough, Professor Jim Saker, said the launch of the BSc degree in Retail Automotive Management for A-level school leavers with jobs in the retail automotive sector was a risk as most degrees require full-time study.
Saker said: “With our first ever cohort having graduated this July, we have proved that it is possible for young people to get a proper university Honours degree by integrating their studies with their work.
“It offers an alternative model for 18 year olds to gain a degree without student debt.”