RAC launches search for tomorrow's engineers

Article date: 21 September 2006

RAC, one of Britain’s leading motoring organisations, haslaunched a £100,000 national initiative to find and train themotor engineers of the future.

By linking up with schools to provide vocational training, thecompany is aiming to give pupils a head start in the automotiveindustry. And this includes installing the latest vehicletechnology on school premises. This scheme is in addition toRAC’s established apprentice and technical trainingprovision for vehicle manufacturers.

The project has begun with RAC and Ashfield School inKirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, joining forces to helpstudents obtain an Institute of Motor Industry recognised NVQqualification and an engineering diploma.

A state-of-the-art vehicle workshop is being built at the school,which will be equipped with the latest vehicles and equipment andan RAC automotive engineering trainer will deliver practicallessons as part of the school’s curriculum.

In addition, RAC will invite local businesses to provide workplacements for successful students, as well as giving students thechance to join RAC-supported apprentice programmes.

Following on from this initial scheme, the company will seek othersuitable schools across the country, culminating in severaltraining centres.

Damian O’Connor, RAC’s head of technical servicedelivery explains: "We want to show students that there is more tothe motor industry than just an ‘oily rag’, which isthe image we are trying to move away from. Yes, it is possible tobecome a vehicle technician through this initiative, but it willalso provide a gateway into other automotive engineering rolessuch as manufacturing and product design of vehicle systems,electronic control and robotics – these are the criticaljobs for the future of manufacturing in this country.

“The automotive industry needs to start attracting youngpeople, who would not typically think of joining the motorindustry for a career, and who bring a different set of qualitiesto address the skills gaps now and even more so in the future,particularly in the vehicle diagnosis areas.

“Master technicians of the future will require a greaterunderstanding of electronics and software programming and as anindustry we need to be focused right now on this issue. That iswhy we have developed this programme with Ashfield School,enabling us to build in this level of understanding at an earlypoint in our future technicians’ development.”

O’Connor continues: “So, our initiative will combinethe engineering diploma and technical certificate for 14-19 yearolds into the existing school curriculum, giving students theopportunity to experience real world training in an adultenvironment.”

This programme will look to attract the very best students whowill fast-track onto modern apprenticeships and continue theirtechnical development at a pace that will help address thisconcern.

The project is supported by Automotive Skills, the Sector SkillsCouncil for the retail automotive industry charged with addressingskills shortages in the sector. Lessons will be included inAshfield School’s curriculum from September 2007.

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RAC Press office contact:
Jon Day at RAC PressOffice on 07800 690555 or Jon Clements at Staniforth on 0161 9198022/ 07989 414486

Notes to editors:

About RAC
With around seven millionmembers, RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoringorganizations, providing services for both private and businessmotorists. Whether it's roadside assistance, windscreen repair andreplacement, learning to drive, vehicle inspections and checks,legal and financial services or up-to-the-minute traffic andtravel information - RAC is able to meet motorists’ needs.RAC incorporates BSM, RAC Auto Windscreens, RAC Direct Insuranceand HPI.

Aviva bought RAC in May 2005. The acquisition brings togetherRAC's powerful brand and customer base with the expertise andleading position in motor insurance of Norwich Union Insurance(part of Aviva). Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer,insuring one in seven motor vehicles and with a market share ofaround 14%.

RAC’s news releases and a selection of images are availablefrom the internet press centre at www.racnews.co.uk.

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