The BMW Group Academy UK hosted a visit by students and teachers this week as part of Discover Automotive Retail, an industry-led initiative designed to give young people a taste of the range of careers available in the UK’s automotive retail sector.
Launched this month, the initiative is being co-ordinated by the SMMT in partnership with the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMIF) and the industry’s Sector Skills Council – the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI).
Students and teachers from schools across the Thames Valley were given the chance to meet current apprentices and see first-hand the broad range of career opportunities the BMW, MINI and BMW Motorrad dealer networks have to offer, as well as gaining a deeper insight into the national BMW apprenticeship programme at the Academy.
Tim Abbott, Managing Director of BMW Group UK said, “Recruitment and retention of skilled people are critical issues facing the retail automotive sector. By providing an industry-leading apprenticeship programme we are confident that we can address this issue and ensure our dealers can continue to deliver the highest levels of customer service.
“At a time when school leavers face a challenging employment landscape, apprenticeships in the automotive industry offer a wide variety of exciting opportunities.”
During their visit to the Academy, students and teachers were briefed on a selection of courses that run over a two or three-year period. They met current and former apprentices and while touring some of the Academy’s 32 workshops and 22 classrooms, got some hands-on experience of the type of work undertaken on the courses.
This year 110 apprentices have joined the BMW apprenticeship programme. Around 600 dealer apprentices have been trained at the BMW Group Academy UK over the past five years in service, parts, motorcycles and body and paint programmes. BMW Group’s UK dealer network has invested around £6 million in training apprentices since 2007 and delivers 7,000 training days per year at the Academy.
Discover Automotive Retail builds on the success of the government-supported See Inside Manufacturing initiative which underlines the importance of the automotive industry to the UK economy and the range of exciting career opportunities it offers.
To find out more about the BMW apprentice programme, visit: www.bmw.co.uk/careers.