It began with first-hand knowledge of the skills shortage facing the automotive industry…
“As a garage service manager, I knew all too well the effect a shortage of vehicle technicians and MOT testers had on a business,” Gavin White, Managing Director of Autotech Recruit explains.
This was the catalyst for the beginnings of Autotech Recruit almost a decade ago. It was this primary experience of working within the industry, and the realisation that there was a lack of vehicle technicians to fill roles on a temporary basis, which initially made the wheels turn and the idea for a recruitment agency to do just that was born.
As the country began to recover from the recession, the skills shortage was at its peak within the motor trade, as so many vehicle technicians had been laid off during the peak of the financial crisis. In 2010, Gavin, together with Andrew Sly and Stephen Hughes, formed Autotech Recruit, in a bid to develop a pool of ‘freelance’ MOT testers and vehicle technicians who would meet the growing demand from garages and workshops across the country for temporary workforce. It would also offer the many technicians made redundant a port in the storm, along with a new way of working.
“What we were proposing to deliver hadn’t, until that point, existed,” comments Gavin White.
In its infancy, Autotech Recruit faced scepticism. While other industries have used freelancers for years, it was originally the mainstay of marketing, IT and accounting execs, and, as a result, the trio were on a path to educate the industry on what they could deliver. Questions on why these temporary vehicle technicians weren’t in full-time employment were raised, however as the ‘pool’ of freelance vehicle technicians and MOT testers who are regularly in work with Autotech Recruit now stands at 500, it is testament to the success of the company.
Each vehicle technician is thoroughly vetted before becoming a contractor and are regularly given training opportunities to improve their employment prospects. For the majority, it’s provided them with a new career path, with a better work-life balance and the possibility of greater financial reward.
The secret of success?
Autotech Recruit is not your typical recruitment agency. As Gavin White comments: “We personally feel the pain of the service manager because we’ve been there.” Quite literally. From the outset, it was vital to Autotech Recruit’s founders that every person employed by the company came from the automotive industry. “Our recruitment consultants need to match the right person to the job so it is important that they understand the issues facing the service manager from the off-set, only someone who has worked within the industry has this ability.”
Understanding the intricate workings of the trade has opened several industry doors, and Autotech Recruit today work closely with many industry associations. As a result, the company has developed training and apprentice arms of the business to help strengthen the UK automotive recruitment offering for generations to come.
As Autotech Recruit celebrates its 8th birthday today, what does the future hold?
The company has achieved considerable success over the last couple of years as the industry has realised the benefits a temporary vehicle technician and MOT testers can bring, not least the counteraction of potential financial losses. “The turning point for us was when dealerships who have always been so protective of their brands came knocking.” Over the last 12 months, Autotech Recruit’s unique Manufacturer Led Programme has seen the company forge alliances with Ford, Volvo and VW Commercial Vehicles, filling over 25,000 hours for the major car manufacturers’ dealer networks. Further partnerships are in the pipeline and more vehicle technicians are on the verge of being trained to manufacturer standards, ready to hit the ground running in 2019.
So this is really only the beginning…