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IMI launches motor industry apprenticeship campaign
The relentless pace of new car technology has prompted a fresh campaign to encourage young people to train as apprentices in the retail motor industry.
The campaign was launched earlier this week at the British International Motor Show by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI).
The IMI says advanced systems such as Head-up Display, fibre optics, controlled area networks (CAN), hybrid fuel, adaptive cruise control, and drive and brake-by-wire, are increasingly standard on cars, demanding extreme proficiency of technicians in electronics and diagnostics.
With the theme 'Proud to be professional', the IMI's campaign is aiming to attract high calibre students to the benefits of an apprenticeship as a credible and rewarding alternative to higher education.
Statistics released last month from the Department for Education and Skills show that only 8% of the country's 670,000 17-year olds entered into work-based learning initiatives such as apprenticeships in 2005, while 63% stayed in full-time education to do A-Levels or equivalent.
The IMI says the campaign also aims to challenge what it sees as outdated public perceptions of the retail motor industry, by stressing the progress being made by the industry to promote and recognise competence and ethical behaviour in the motor trade, including the Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA) scheme which launched last year. To date, there are more than 1,900 technicians now accredited in the UK.
Following the launch at the Motor Show, the campaign will roll-out nationally to 400 of the IMI's approved colleges and specialist providers across the UK, as well as careers offices, vehicle manufacturers, dealer groups and independent motor businesses nation-wide.
Speaking at the British International Motor Show, Sarah Sillars, chief executive of the IMI, said: "With rapid vehicle evolution, a shifting retail landscape and intense scrutiny from consumer groups, a robust and respected retail motor sector of the future will depend on equipping people with a whole new range of advanced skills who understand the importance of ethics. This means attracting, developing and retaining young people who have got what it takes and highlighting the value of a professional vocation."
"Equally important in our collective efforts to influence public opinion positively is the role of the individual, who can make a commitment to an ethical code of conduct to give customers the reassurance of integrity. The "Proud to be professional" campaign reflects a growing desire in the industry to recognise truly skilled people and show consumers how much the industry has moved forward."
The British International Motor Show is taking place at ExCeL London from 20th - 30th July 2006.
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