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'Training will lead to aftersales being the hotbed of future talent'

More professional training will result in an increase of dealer principals emerging from aftersales departments, according to Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) CEO Steve Nash.

“By ensuring aftersales managers receive leadership and managerial training we can help prepare them for DP roles and see them better represented at the heads of franchised dealerships,” he said ahead of AM’s Aftersales Conference where he will set the scene by taking the opening session at the Crowne Plaza, Heythrop Park, Oxford (OX7 5UF), on April 8.

In fact, Nash believes that ensuring automotive managers follow an established accreditation system, which already exists in the form of National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) with professional recognition at Level 5, will not only provide a defined and attractive career path for all automotive retail personnel irrespective of their background, but will make the staggering £100 million the industry spends on training every year more meaningful within the wider UK economy.

Nash takes his stance one step further and talks about a ‘virtuous circle’ whereby well trained, professionally qualified managers are more likely to run a profitable and efficient business where good staff will want to stay and where customers return time and again.

He said: “Management leadership is a considerable weakness in the whole sector. We provide people with the technical learning but not the support and training in managerial skills. This lack of training can also curtail their careers particularly for people who work in aftersales.”

Promoting the best sales executive to sales manager and then DP for fear of losing a person who has such an impact on the bottom line is understandable but the ‘sink or swim’ attitude to managerial training is counterproductive and also often fails to identify potential leaders from the aftersales departments, Nash argues.

As such, the IMI is working with many manufacturers to embed a common standard and transform the wealth of training programmes which have already been created into nationally accredited professional qualifications.

This will provide an easy and comparable benchmark for the sector, as well as making automotive management qualifications transferable to other sectors; signalling the biggest change to the industry’s training since the IMI introduced the ATA scheme for technicians.

He added: “It is actually much easier for the franchised sector as the manufacturer programmes are already in place. All we need to do is to ensure those schemes meet the national accreditation criteria.”

Nash will also show through various research that training and development has a positive impact on ROI.

AM Aftersales Conference 2014

Tickets are available to dealers and manufacturers, with a limited number of supplier tickets on sale.

To book, please contact Nicola Baxter on 01733 468289, email or visit


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