Article date: 4 November 2008
RAC's state of the art auto-training centre at Great Sankey High School has been officially opened, enabling over 80 pupils a week to undergo training as part of a national initiative to find and train the motor engineers of the future.
The purpose built vehicle workshop in Warrington opened on 20 October and gives students the opportunity to be taught by RAC trainers and gain qualifications in motor vehicle engineering.
The scheme is an addition to RAC's established apprentice and technical training provision for vehicle manufacturers. It will enable students to gain an Institute of Motor Industry (IMI) recognised Technical Certificate, allowing them to work towards an Engineering Diploma if they continue with training until the age of 19 years.
On completion of the course, and as part of the initiative, students will have the opportunity to join RAC supported apprenticeship programmes, working with local motor traders who provide work placements for successful students.
RAC will also use the centre to educate staff with six patrols completing training a week.
Damian O'Connor, RAC's head of technical support, said: "It is vital to attract new talent into the industry and educate students about wider technical subjects such as electronics and IT programming early on, as vehicle technology becomes increasingly sophisticated.
"The state of the art workshop creates a similar environment to a modern career in the motoring industry.
"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.
"As a leading motoring organisation, RAC has a responsibility to invest and find the skills of the future and this is a unique approach to building the relationship between businesses and education."
Alan Yates, head teacher at Great Sankey High School, said: "This partnership will provide a blueprint of good practice for the delivery of the new Applied Learning Diplomas, the establishment of sustainable education/industry partnerships as well as the enhancement of the engineering capabilities of the school to a level unsurpassed in the Northwest, if not nationally.
"By working together with blue chip companies, Great Sankey High School will contribute to the regional development and growth of careers, skills and opportunities within the automotive engineering sector."
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 Office Contact:
Vicki Burn on 01603 684224/ 07800 692909 or Sam Bramwell on 0161 919 8024/ 077381 96667.
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 per cent.
RAC is part of Aviva, the world's fifth largest insurance group which operates in 27 countries.
RAC's news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at www.racnews.co.uk/.