Autotech Academy, launched in January 2021, was created to help newly qualified Level 3 automotive students secure their first automotive role through a paid internship. Now, with a full academic year under its belt, the Autotech Academy concept has helped over 150 young people gain employment within the industry.
It has also generated a new recruitment stream for the sector which has been plagued by a skills shortage for years.
Embraced by main dealer groups including Marshall Motor Group, Ford and Honda, along with the fast fit and independent sectors, Autotech Academy has been cited as the missing link between colleges and the automotive aftermarket.
Working as a conduit between FE Colleges and motor industry employers, Autotech Academy identifies qualifying Level 3 automotive students, equips them with a starter tool kit and uniform, before placing them with an employer for a period of 6 -12 months on a paid internship. The length of time and any additional training requirements is based on the specific needs of the employer. At the end of the internship the employer can decide to employ the intern on a permanent basis with no recruitment fees – a risk free solution.
“We have effectively taken the pain away from employers,” comments Simon King, Managing Director of Autotech Group. “The fact that so many automotive employers are embracing the concept is demonstrative of the hole in the market that Autotech Academy is filling.” Over two thirds of interns, placed into the industry by Autotech Academy, are successfully transitioning to permanent employment on completion of their internship – providing an alternate recruitment route and filling the talent pipeline.
As an employment and training solutions provider to the automotive aftermarket, Autotech Group was in a prime position to identify a significant bottleneck in the recruitment of newly qualified automotive students. A reported 10,000 students were graduating each year with an automotive qualification but finding employment within different sectors after struggling to secure an automotive industry role.
“It seems crazy when you see this figure on paper,” Simon continues, “but the simple fact is that the link between colleges and employers wasn’t strong enough and employers don’t have the bandwidth, in the midst of the high demand they are facing, to vet, recruit and mentor newly qualified automotive students.”
One major misconception around Autotech Academy has been the myth that an internship is the same as an apprenticeship. “Put simply, an apprentice is a school leaver with no automotive education while an intern is fully qualified with the latest theoretical training and will work full time. They do not require day release to attend college as an apprentice would,” comments Simon.
Employers have shaped the internship to suit their specific needs. From interns ‘shadowing’ master technicians before working independently, to putting them on smaller, repetitive tasks so they can refine their skills. “While the interns have the right qualifications, they’ll initially need to be directed and potentially shadow people to gain the confidence to put their knowledge into practice. However, by all accounts, the interns placed by Autotech Academy are working independently very quickly and offer an immediate extra pair of hands.”
Now, as a new academic year gets firmly underway, Autotech Academy, building upon the relationships forged with over 60 FE Colleges across the UK, is set to increase the number of internship positions created and inject a new cohort of newly qualified talent into the sector.