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Act now on skills

A growing skills shortage threatens the future of the retail motor industry, trainers warned this week.

An Office for National Statistics survey on labour market trends in the industry reveals that employers are finding it harder to fill vacancies with the right calibre of staff - 74 per cent of employers said they required more skilled employees.

Mike Allmond, director of Retail Motor Industry Training (ReMIT), said: "Motor retailers are facing a growing skills shortage which could have dire consequences for the industry. It takes three years at least to train a technician so unless the industry acts now, there could be even more shortages in future."

He added retailers had to embrace training to tackle the increasing complexity of new technology, increased national and European legislation and a more demanding customer service. Dealerships needed to look outside the industry to other retail sectors to ensure they can recruit and retain a diverse and high standard of management employee.

He said: "From a technical perspective, the Modern Apprenticeship schemes and national vocational qualifications are proving incredibly successful, and as long as they are allowed to grow and develop without external interference, will provide a good calibre of service and workshop employee."

The statistics also show that most women are unemployed for less time than men - 34 per cent of unemployed women were out of work for less than three months, compared with 22 per cent of men. However, 28 per cent of women were unemployed for a year or more compared with 45 per cent of men.

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