Article date: 18 March 2008
RAC is continuing its commitment to finding and training motor engineers of the future by investing in a state of the art auto-training centre at Great Sankey High School, Warrington.
Building work on the new automotive centre has just begun, which will open for the school's academic term 2008-2009. RAC will invest £0.5 million in the training centre over five years, providing an automotive engineering trainer, in addition to supplying the latest equipment and tools for the innovative vehicle workshop.
As part of a national initiative, RAC is linking up with schools to provide vocational training and give pupils a head start in the automotive industry. The scheme is in addition to RAC's established apprentice and technical training provision for vehicle manufacturers.
Students can gain an Institute of Motor Industry recognised Technical Certificate, which enables pupils to work towards an Engineering Diploma if they continue with training until the age of 19 years.
RAC will also invite local dealerships and independent garages to provide work placements for successful students, as well as giving students the opportunity to join RAC-supported apprentice programmes.
Damian O'Connor, RAC's head of technical service delivery, explains: "The engineers of the future will need a broader set of skills such as electronics and IT programming, as vehicle technology becomes increasingly sophisticated.
"By attracting new talent into the industry and incorporating these wider technical subjects into the curriculum at an early point in a student's career development, we can address skill shortages in the sector.
"The initiative will help us to equip students with the necessary skills, by ensuring they gain hands-on training with a broad range of experience and qualifications.
"We hope to demonstrate that the programme can create opportunities to move into a wide variety of automotive engineering roles, such as vehicle systems and manufacturing as well as attracting people that wouldn't normally think of applying for jobs in the automotive industry."
The initiative will combine the Engineering Diploma and Technical Certificate for 14-19 year olds into the existing school curriculum and look to attract the best students who will fast-track onto modern apprenticeships.
The project is supported by the Sector Skills Council for the retail automotive industry - the body charged with addressing skills shortages in the sector and boosting competitiveness through skills development.
RAC press contact:
Vicki Burn on 01603 684224/ 07800 692909 or Alex Anderson at Staniforth 0161 919 8021/07779 162583
Notes to editors:
With around seven million members, RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistance, windscreen repair and replacement, learning to drive, vehicle inspections and checks, legal and financial services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able to meet motorists' needs. RAC incorporates BSM, RAC Auto Windscreens, RAC Direct Insurance and HPI.
RAC is committed to providing the very highest levels of service to its members and has been ranked first for customer service by JD Power and Associates' UK Roadside Assistance Study for the past two years.
Aviva bought RAC in May 2005. The acquisition brings together RAC's powerful brand and customer base with the expertise and leading 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 of around 15%.
RAC's news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at http://www.racnews.co.uk.