Over half the workforce in the retail motor industry is employed by a small/medium business yet according to the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), 32% of micro-businesses carried out no staff training at all last year. With 1545 SMEs closing in the same period the IMI is calling on employers to take action and understand that investing in skills is good for business and has a positive effect on the bottom line.

    The IMI commissioned four independent studies carried out by the University of Leicester, assessing the impact of their skills accreditation programme. Today the IMI is releasing this new and final report showing that Autoglass achieved a 98% Return on Investment (ROI) when it invested in Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA).

    ATA is a voluntary scheme that proves a technician’s competence, giving reassurance to customers as well as raising the professional status and credibility of skilled individuals and their businesses.

    Autoglass linked ATA to pay and reward which has paid dividends, with the study finding that for every £1 spent on ATA Autoglass saved £2 in lost production. The new study has firmly proved that accreditation drives business.

    The previous studies published in July carried out with Mercedes Benz, Halfords Autocentres and Allparts Automotive also showed improved ROIs ranging from 98%-187%.

    Sue Branson, Learning and Development Manager at Autoglass said: “ATA has given us a brand differentiator with our key account customers e.g. insurance companies. It provides clear evidence of our commitment to training and developing our staff, not to mention the exceptional quality of work that we expect to provide for our clients. It has enabled our technicians to possess an externally benchmarked standard which has been a real benefit for them. The results of the study confirmed our intuitive feeling that ATA had positive benefits for the organisation – in particular, it enabled us to link the skill levels of our technicians with their output in a business context.”

    To ensure that these findings are shared within the industry, the IMI commissioned a video (see link below) to highlight the ROI findings. Ruth Badger, star of the BBC TV show The Apprentice and successful business woman in her own right, was happy to take part in the video as she strongly believes in training and regularly takes on apprentices within her own business.

    Ruth Badger said: “Investing in skills is an area that employers can often be reluctant to spend on, but the IMI has proved that investing in your people should be a no brainer! I’m passionate about apprentices not just because of the TV show but because at 16-years old I was on YTS which was an apprenticeship. I now employ two apprentices every year. ATA improves self-esteem, professional development and provides a long-term career path. Investing in Skills as the study shows is money very well spent.”

    As well as monetary gain it also had the added benefits of inspiring technical staff to reach targets, and improve time management. Management also found it lead to better staff retention, 26% of this was attributed to ATA and the cost savings Autoglass found equated to almost 17%.

    Sarah Sillars OBE FIMI, Executive Chair of the IMI said:“The commercial return on investing in skills is demonstrated here by these respected automotive companies. We need to assist our sector to make investments with good commercial returns and remove some of the previous concerns that training and development can be a cost. Budgeting, and spending on training right now is, as the studies show, a safe and profitable investment.”