Lookers has said that the launch of a recruitment drive that will see it take on its largest-ever intake of apprentices in 2021 is a sign of “confidence and ambition for the future”.
The troubled AM100 PLC car retail group, which is currently the subject of a suspension of shares trading as ongoing fraud investigations stall publication of its 2019 annual financial results, plans to take on 180 new apprentices next year.
In a statement published this morning (November 11), the group said that a wide range of technology, manufacturing, and customer-facing roles would be filled in the latest enrolment of an apprentice scheme which has attracted 700 new recruits over the past three years.
Lookers’ chief retail operations officer, Duncan McPhee, said: “Lookers is committed to apprenticeships as part of our continued investment to attract bright, young and ambitious talent into the business.
“We are delighted to offer 180 apprenticeship roles across the country, providing young people with the opportunity to build their confidence, skills, and experience in a dynamic and continually evolving industry.”
McPhee added: “The Lookers Apprenticeship Programme has enabled our company to develop many high-calibre, talented individuals, many of whom have gone on to receive industry and national recognition.
“This investment also demonstrates our confidence and ambition for the future despite the difficult challenges of this year.”
News of the new apprenticeship intake at Lookers comes just three months after a trading update revealed Lookers’ plan to close a further 12 car retail sites while making 1,500 redundancies in a bid to to realise annual savings of £50m.
However, last month Lookers reported that trading in Q3 had resulted in underlying pre-tax profits “significantly ahead of last year” to largely offset losses recorded in a COVID-19 impacted first half of 2020.
Young people across the UK and Ireland are now being offered the opportunity to secure sought-after apprenticeship positions in the automotive sector with the group.
Lookers said that it is particularly keen to attract young female apprentices to further build on the launch of its industry-wide Female Apprenticeship Network.
Matt Clay, Lookers’ group qualifications manager, who runs the group’s apprenticeships programme, said: “It’s a testament to the success of our investment in new talent for both Lookers and our apprentices that we’ve been able to offer an increased number of roles this year.
“Not only do our apprenticeships enable us to help meet the future demands of our customers, we have also encouraged more young, talented women to join the business through this route.
“We are proud to have led the development of an industry-wide Female Apprenticeship Network to help inspire the next generation of female leaders in the automotive industry. Encouraging greater diversity in our next generation of talent is a priority for Lookers.”
Lookers currently holds Centrica Top 100 Apprenticeship employer status, the only national motor retailer to receive this accolade and was also winner of the regional Macro Apprentice Employer of the Year.
Halla Abdulhadi, a Lookers apprentice based at West London Jaguar Land Rover, said: “I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship at Lookers, the level of support and training available has been brilliant and everyone in the Company has been really welcoming and supportive.
“Joining the Female Apprenticeship Network is a great opportunity to learn more about the future of the industry and inspire other young women apprentices. This programme is an incredible opportunity to develop your skills and start your career in a fast-paced industry which is innovating every day and I would encourage everyone to apply.”
To apply for the Lookers Apprenticeship Programme visit https://www.lookers.co.uk/careers/lookers-apprenticeships.