Duke of Gloucester opens RAC's first automotive training centre

Article date: 11 April 2008

RAC's first automotive training centre has been opened by the Duke of Gloucester, as part of a national initiative to find and train the motor engineers of the future.

A state-of-the-art vehicle workshop has been built at Ashfield School's Post-16 Centre, Kirby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire. The workshop is equipped with the latest vehicles and equipment where an RAC automotive engineering trainer will deliver practical lessons.

The company aims to 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 (IMI) 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 businesses to provide work placements for successful students, as well as giving pupils the opportunity to join RAC-supported apprentice programmes.

Damian O' Connor, RAC's head of technical service delivery, says: "After two years of working together, we are pleased to see the centre officially open. The engineers of the future will need a broader set of skills such as electronics and IT programming, as vehicle technology becomes increasingly sophisticated. 

"It is vital to attract new talent into the industry and educate students about these wider technical subjects early on, so we can address skill shortages in the sector.

"We hope to attract people that would not normally think of applying for jobs in the automotive industry and demonstrate that the programme can create opportunities to move into a wide variety of automotive engineering disciplines, such as vehicle systems, design and manufacturing." 

Ian Fraser, headmaster at the school, said: "We're delighted that the training centre has been officially launched as it will give students the chance to experience real world training in an adult environment."

RAC has recently selected Great Sankey High School in Warrington to take part in the initiative. Building work on an automotive training centre for the school has just begun.

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.

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RAC Press office contact:
Vicki Burn on 01603 684 224 / 07800 692 909 or Alex Anderson 0161 919 8021 / 07779 162583.

Notes to editors:

About RAC
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 J.D. 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%.

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