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Automotive Aftermarket Unites to Fire up the Talent Shortage Conversation at Talent Recharge

Last week, over 200 senior leaders from OEMs, dealer groups, independents and the tyre, paint and body sectors united alongside automotive industry trade bodies and representatives from the education sector at the inaugural Talent Recharge: ‘How to gain, train and retain talent’ event, to kick start the industry’s talent shortage conversation.  

During the event, which was hosted by Autotech Group, an interactive poll revealed that 100% of respondents felt that their business’ current talent strategy was not fit for purpose.

Held within the world class surroundings of Red Bull MK-7 in Milton Keynes, Talent Recharge included a line-up of speakers, along with interactive roundtable and panel discussions to help delegates devise and deploy successful long term talent strategies.

Cited as a ‘restart moment’ and the chance to tear off the plaster which has been precariously holding the industry together for over a decade, the event also saw attendees participate in an interactive poll. Results revealed that over 75% felt that recruitment had become even more difficult following the pandemic, and 45% admitted that the skills shortage had cost their business over £100k in the last 12 months.

Speakers included former McLaren Formula 1 team mechanic and seasoned automotive broadcaster, Marc ‘Elvis’ Priestley, recruitment advisor and entrepreneur, James Osborne, and other prominent figures from other industries who have faced similar skills shortage challenges.

The IMI’s Jim Saker and Joanna Hollingdale presented the findings from its recent Diversity Task Force Report and opened up the floor with questions from the audience on how to implement diversity and inclusivity into their recruitment strategies.

While the morning focused on the trade, the afternoon session brought together senior leaders from the automotive industry with the education sector, specifically people who are responsible for their college’s automotive offering.

During the afternoon, VW Commercial Vehicles’ Paul Anderson joined Ford UK’s Sarah Brettle, Fix Network World’s David Lingham, Kevan Wooden from Euro Car Parts, and Catherine Treanor CAE MIMI from Electude to run a panel debate. This provoked discussions and provided some inspiring ideas on how the automotive industry and FE colleges could work together to “rewrite the playbook” and step up their efforts in securing future talent for the industry.

Kevan Wooden, Chief Commercial Officer at Euro Car Parts commented: “A truly great event to amplify the ways in which the industry and the education sector can collaborate to bring great talent into our sector and build amazing careers.”

Rebecca Garratty, Recruitment Advisor for Marshall Motor Group, commented: “It was clear from the day’s discussions that collaboration is key, and we need to rewrite the narrative and encourage future generations of the automotive industry.”

Andy Wells, Head of Faculty Engineering, Aerospace and Automotive at Exeter College commented, “It was great to hear the thoughts and commitment to opening the doors to FE and automotive employer collaboration to link up and solve the challenges.”

Speaker and global business & employment practices consultant, Tom Hadley, commented: “It was a truly awesome event and great to see Autotech Group taking a lead, not just through thought leadership in the automotive sector but through ‘action-leadership.’”

“We were delighted with the success of Talent Recharge,” comments Gavin White, CEO, Autotech Group. “The fact that so many senior leaders from the automotive industry attended is demonstrative of the impact the skills shortage is having on the sector and there was a real feeling of wanting to make a difference. We hope now that businesses can take the information shared on the day and implement long lasting strategies which will help turn the tide.”