Apprentices who start with no experience typically generate profit in 18 to 24 months – much earlier than previously assumed. An IMI study looked at a cross-section of businesses from small independents to franchised dealers across the UK and involved 30 apprentices.
The productivity of an apprentice was found to follow an ‘S-curve’, showing low-skilled, low-level growth in the first year, accelerating through the second year and delivering the same return as an experienced technician by the third or fourth year.
Dealers with fewer than 50 employees can also benefit from £170 million in government support for apprenticeship schemes. Employers that have not had an apprentice in the past year can receive a grant of up to £1,500 for the first 10 apprentices they employ.
How manufacturers are helping dealers to recruit
Manufacturers are also assisting dealerships with finding the right staff. Hyundai has a programme that creates an online profiling tool for service advisers. It started through research in other industries to identify the ideal attributes of a person strong in customer service. Along with a partner company, it created the tool that asks certain questions of candidates to determine their suitability. Hyundai dealers are using that tool in recruiting service advisers, and the manufacturer aims to develop similar tools for other roles.
“If we don’t get the right people in the right positions then no amount of training will help,” said Rebecca Heeley, academy manager at Hyundai UK.