In a bid to grow their own talent, a BMW retailer has offered permanent employment to a newly qualified vehicle technician following an internship with Autotech Academy.
Faced with a lack of new talent coming through the business, Wollaston BMW explored the option of taking on an intern to compliment its existing recruitment channels.
Acknowledging that, prior to Autotech Academy, the prospect of employing a newly qualified vehicle technician straight from college wouldn’t have been a route the Northamptonshire based business would have taken, the Autotech Academy solution has eased the pain of recruiting young talent.
Michael York, General Aftersales Manager for Wollaston BMW, comments: “Coming straight from college to work for a main dealer is a baptism of fire as the work is massively different from what they do on a day to day basis while learning. They have the skills on paper, but they need a high level of support to help them gain the relevant experience, it requires a lot of time and finding the right person is essential.
Consequently, while we are all well aware of the skills shortage impacting the sector and the lack of talent coming through, dealers tend to shy away from employing newly qualified vehicle technicians.”
Capitalising on its existing links with Autotech Group and recognising the quality of the company’s existing employment and training solutions, Wollaston BMW reached out in a bid to understand and investigate the option of taking on an intern through its Autotech Academy division.
Through Autotech Academy, interns are vetted before being matched with an employer for an interview. They are then equipped with a toolbox and uniform by the Academy team before being placed on a paid internship. The length of the internship period is dependent on the needs of each employer but varies between 6 and 12 months.
In the case of Wollaston BMW, they took on Sean Leahy on a 6 month internship in June last year. Newly qualified with a Level 3 Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair qualification from Northampton College, Sean was an immediate fit with the privately owned business who has represented BMW for half a century.
Assigned a mentor to support him with day to day tasks, Sean has recently completed his internship and has now been employed as a permanent Technician for Wollaston BMW.
“I heard about Autotech Academy when they visited my college and presented the internship initiative to us along with some really beneficial tips on securing an automotive career,” comments Sean. “I didn’t hesitate when I was invited to apply for an internship at Wollaston BMW as Autotech Academy offered such a great deal, including a toolbox which is an expensive purchase for people who have recently finished their studies.
I really do believe that, had I not gone down the Autotech Academy route, I would have struggled to be in the position I am today. I would encourage anyone, recently qualified, or due to qualify from an automotive course, to consider taking the Autotech Academy route. The team have been incredibly supportive, always ready to answer any questions I may have. Now I have finished my internship, my goal is to pursue further training and continue on a career path with Wollaston BMW.”
The paid internship route has complemented Wollaston BMW’s existing recruitment channels, which includes apprenticeship programmes, and the company are already planning to take on another intern in the future.
Michael, who began his own career as an apprentice 25 years ago, comments: “We are looking at the different skill levels required across the whole business but are definitely planning to take another intern on in the next 12 months. We are delighted with what Sean has achieved and believe he will be an absolute asset to our business – we are looking forward to seeing what he will accomplish.”
“The Autotech Academy internship initiative has worked well for us. It has certainly taken the pain away from employing a newly qualified technician. My advice to other employers is to realise that an intern isn’t the finished article and expectations need to be clearly outlined, if they realise that the intern isn’t the best fit for their company, they haven’t wasted a huge amount of time and investment as the Autotech Academy team manage the groundwork.
There are plenty of newly qualified technicians coming through and as a result, a huge number of opportunities to find an intern that fits and can be moulded to suit the long term goals of a business. It really is a ‘Try before you buy’ solution,” concludes Michael.
For more information visit www.autotechacademy.co.uk