Bentley Motors” chief to give Automotive Academy Annual Lecture

16 November 2005 #SMMT News



Bentley Motors’ Chairman and Chief Executive, Dr Franz-Josef Paefgen, will give this year’s Automotive Academy Annual Lecture, to be held at the House of Commons on Monday 21 November. The 2005 Annual Lecture marks the end of the first full year of operations for the Automotive Academy – established to promote globally competitive standards of skill development and training for the vehicle and component industry in the United Kingdom.


The automotive industry and government believe that a focused training and skills culture will be a potent element in delivering the levels of innovation, quality, productivity and cost performance necessary to ensure an internationally competitive motor industry in the United Kingdom


This message will be emphasised by the other key speakers at the event; Gerry Sutcliffe MP, Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs, representing the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, and Joe Greenwell, Chairman of the Automotive Academy and Ford Motor Company’s Vice President responsible for Government Affairs in Europe.


Inaugurated in April 2003, the Automotive Academy is the result of a unique partnership between the automotive industry in the UK, government, the education sector and training providers. Stemming from the Department of Trade and Industry’s Automotive Innovation and Growth Team, the Academy’s objective is to boost skills in Britain’s motor industry in an increasingly competitive international environment.


Dr Alan Begg, Chief Executive of the Automotive Academy said, ‘This is a time of unprecedented change and competitiveness in the global automotive industry. We are facing major new challenges from intensely cost-competitive manufacturers in the East. In this country, from the shop-floor to the boardroom, we need to focus on developing and delivering the skills and training we need to remain competitive – particularly in the value-added areas of research and development, advanced technology and design. The Automotive Academy was established to ensure that we develop a training and skills process which is globally competitive, internationally recognised, consistent and industry led.’


In his keynote lecture, Dr Paefgen will stress the importance of internationally competitive skills and training as Bentley significantly expands its presence as one of the world’s most prestigious automobile marques.


As the national centre for learning for people in the automotive industry, the Academy doesn’t itself deliver training courses. It brings together the key funding and training providers and the automotive industry. By validating training excellence it ensures that internationally competitive training and skills development is available to the vehicle and component industries – from new apprentices to boardroom directors.


The Automotive Academy operates on a ‘hub and spoke’ structure with headquarters and central administration in Birmingham and operational ‘spokes’ in the UK regions. The ‘spokes’ act as interfaces with the automotive companies in their region. In the first year, spoke managers were appointed for seven of the eight designated regions of operation.


A range of globally-competitive training materials has been developed in collaboration with the Industry Forum and which represents automotive industry best practice. For example, the Team Leader course material was developed with significant input from Nissan in Sunderland.


In April, the Academy introduced a Business Improvement Course designed specifically for shop-floor workers. With its strong emphasis on productivity and lean manufacturing techniques, the course will have been attended by 1,200 people by the end of the year – with the number of attendees growing month by month.


Two standards of training course validation have been developed. Nationwide training courses, which meet the Academy’s stringent standards and which are available from fully-validated providers, are awarded the ‘Academy Validated’ mark. ‘Industry Recommended’ accreditation recognises existing good practice by credible industry training suppliers.

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