The Institute for the Motor Industry (IMI) has successfully secured over £3 million of investment on behalf of the automotive retail sector, as part of phase 2 of the Government’s Employer Investment Fund (EIF), to deliver projects to boost enterprise, jobs and growth.

    Following a competitive bid process, the IMI has secured investment for all 6 streams of work submitted for consideration by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).  Today’s announcement is a great result for the automotive retail sector and further strengthens the Institute’s mandate to improve standards of professionalism across the industry through the qualification, development and recognition of individuals.

    The automotive retailsector is a substantial generator of wealth for the UK, turning over £146 billion and generating £25 billion Gross Value Added (GVA) from vehicle sales, maintenance, repair, recovery, parts distribution, leasing and rental.

    The IMI’s 6 ambitious development projects align with the core purpose of the EIF 2 funding to enable the IMI to develop a suitably qualified workforce to meet future demand and improve economic performance.  The news is a real boost for the automotive retail sector and demonstrates that it can compete successfully alongside other high priority employment sectors.

    The EIF is a UK-wide fund that has been created by the UKCES to encourage employers across the UK to invest more in raising the skills of their workforce. This fund is open only to licensed Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) and enables them to run and pilot innovative solutions to raise skill levels and business performance.  This replaces Government strategic grant funding for all SSCs which ceases in March 2012.

    Sarah Sillars OBE FIMI, Executive Chair said “We are delighted that from a total of 109 bids across 21 SSCs all 6 requisitions we submitted will receive funding. This is a significant achievement for the Institute on behalf of the retail automotive industry and acknowledges the importance of the sector to the UK economy. We are grateful for the support of all the employers who have helped us to achieve this successful outcome.

    Our strategic objectives at the IMI are designed to help the automotive industry improve its image, status, skills and productivity. With EIF phase 2 funding we will deliver initiatives that will engage employers and deliver long term commitment to skills investment.”

    The successful bids are in line with the Institute’s Strategic Plan and are as follows:

    • Making and winning the economic argument for employer investment in skills.
    • Increasing current competence levels developing a new approach to up-skilling the automotive technician population.
    • Develop an infrastructure to improve the levels of management and leadership capability in the sector.
    • Expand and embed the automotive sector’s Professional Register as the voluntary license to practice.
    • Attracting and retaining talent in the sector – educate careers teachers and practitioners on opportunities in the modern automotive retail sector.
    • Development of a 14-16 automotive vocational programme.

    The funding further reinforces the value of the automotive professional register, launched in April 2011, which recognises individuals who have proven they have the right qualifications and knowledge to practice professionally within the automotive sector, abide by a code of ethical conduct and who continually maintain their professional standards through continuing professional development (CPD) and proving current competence.