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The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation

Aftermarket urged to adopt a blended approach to training in recent webinar

Date: Thursday 15 April 2021

The latest in the Automotive Aftermarket Webinar Series, launched by auto:resource from Automechanika Birmingham, has proven popular, with discussions focusing on The Future of Automotive Training and the key changes that the the sector can expect in the year ahead.

The discussions were kicked off by assessing the impact of 2020 on training, with the panel unanimously agreeing that the global pandemic had forced the industry to adapt its strategy and evolve in order to successfully deliver necessary training.

A panel of industry experts led the conversation, including renowned automotive author, Tom Denton; Maria McCullough, AutoCare Garage Network Manager; Phill Weller, Network Manager for United Garage Services GROUPAUTO; Kevin Kelly, Bosch Sales Director UK & Ireland; and James Dillon, Independent Trainer for Technical Topics, and the session was moderated by Mark Field, PR Director for Automechanika Birmingham.

Dillon highlighted the growth of online training and its advantages, while Kelly stressed the continued need for practical options, particularly for apprentices who are proven to benefit from a more hands-on approach.

A poll then asked how equipped the workforce is to deal with skills and training to be successful in the next five years, with 50 percent of respondents believing that it is prepared, reiterating that companies are being proactive, but there is still a long way to go.

The panel then explored future training priorities, looking at the importance of providing an insight into ADAS technicalities, as well as new legislation and hybrid and electric vehicles technology.

Dillion emphasised the need to adopt an ongoing training strategy, commenting:

“No one is a fully trained technician and therefore continual professional development is essential.”

Denton concurred:

“Good quality training should be considered as an investment rather than a cost.”

Kelly discussed the ‘silver bullet approach’ whereby a company’s training priorities are problem-driven rather than planning a fundamental business strategy.

Another poll then asked what the training priorities should be for 2021, with 51 percent of respondents believing companies should focus on electric and hybrid training, and the panel agreed that this shows that a blended approach is important, with McCullough stating:

“It should be all of the above. Companies should have a clear business plan.”

A Q&A session then followed, with a number of attendees participating and asking insightful questions around the official mandatory licencing scheme and the skills gap, among other topics.