From education to employment

Real voices take centre stage as the IMI sets out to prove ‘There’s More to Motor’

Game-changing digital campaign highlights extensive range of roles and development opportunities in the automotive sector

With the automotive sector facing a growing skills crisis, the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) is launching a game-changing campaign to shift widespread perceptions and showcase the vast array of opportunities for school leavers, graduates and career changers alike. ‘There’s More to Motor’, previewed at this week’s British Motor Show ahead of the launch of a digital advertising campaign in September, will focus on the regions with the biggest vacancies.

Central to the campaign are real people – and perhaps not the stereotype perception of the automotive workforce – telling their career stories.

Randeep Reehal: Tackling the gender gap

Working in her father’s garage, Randeep Reehal became aware of other garages taking advantage of women due to their lack of knowledge on cars. Her response was to do something to help female motorists. Eight years on The Pink Garage – initially viewed sceptically by her male colleagues – is a thriving training company and workshop serving all genders.

“I want to train women, not only for my own business, but also for other garages around the UK”, explained Randeep. “Having a woman in the service and workshop area who knows what she’s talking about will increase the revenue of any garage. Women will talk to other women, and that will attract more customers. It also adds value to the garage’s working environment, so it’s a win-win.”

Amy Edwards: Not just jobs for the boys

An Apprentice LCV Technician at Motus Commercials, Amy Edwards is proving that working in automotive is not dirty or for less intelligent people.

“The way the industry is going with EV means that there are less mucky jobs on the vehicles and the added safety concerns means that everyone needs a good level of training. Plus, I’ve never met a Master Technician who hasn’t completely blown my mind with the amount of knowledge they have. For anyone considering automotive I would say, take advantage of work experience and apprenticeship opportunities and even just pop into a local site and ask any questions you have. We’re a sector in need so you won’t be turned away.”

Jonathan Chadwick: A strong career path

Proving that automotive delivers a genuine career path, Jonthan Chadwick started as an Apprentice MVT (Motor Vehicle Technician) with ReddeNorthgate just over a decade ago, progressing to Workshop Controller and Workshop Manager roles. He is now transferring his skills to the next generation as a Technical Trainer.

“Being a Technical Trainer at ReddeNorthgate allows me to have a positive impact on our UK Workshop Operations and help develop my colleagues with current and relative training. Having an influence and creating our new Apprentice development path has been very rewarding, bringing my own experiences along with listening and understanding our current Apprentices to develop our Apprentice scheme for our future cohorts.

“Now is the time to join the sector to become part of an ever-changing industry with technological advances being applied to it on a regular basis. The sector is filled with knowledgeable, educated, passionate, like-minded people that are constantly developing into tomorrow’s mentors and coaches. There’s an abundance of opportunity within the industry.

As Sally-Anne Hodder, Head of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging at the IMI explained: “‘There’s More to Motor’ is all about shifting the dial on the perceptions of automotive as a career destination and, at the same time, putting the vacancies that exist centre-stage.

“Our own analysis of the automotive workforce, led by the Diversity Task Force launched in 2021, shows that there are some real champions that don’t fit the stereotypes of the automotive workforce, achieving great success in their careers.  With ‘There’s More to Motor’ we want to share their stories and help others who might not have realised just how innovative our sector is, see that there are genuine career opportunities for all parts of society. And by working with recruitment agencies and employers we’re not just talking about potential; we’re linking our digital campaign to real vacancies.”

The IMI ‘There’s More to Motor’ campaign launches in September in a number of regions around the UK and will use social and digital platforms. For anyone who engages with the campaign, they will be directed to employers and recruitment agencies offering a range of vacancies in their area. It’s an innovative real-time approach that the IMI believes will start to fix the significant skills gap the sector faces.

According to the latest figures, the automotive sector has the second highest job vacancy rate of all UK sectors, second only to hospitality.

Key statistics:

  • The automotive sector employs over 750,000 people in the UK and offers over 200 different job roles
  • It contributes £37bn per year to the UK economy
  • IMI projections suggest the industry will need to fill more than 111,400 roles in the next decade
  • The current vacancy rate for motor trades is 5.1, the highest rate in past 21 years
  • Just 18% of the automotive workforce is female

“Whether individuals are at the start of their working life or looking for a change in direction, now is the most exciting time to work in automotive”, added Lesley Woolley. “And we hope this new campaign will help more people to recognise that.”

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