New academy to fill skills gaps in the motor sector

By We Love Creative

26 Feb 2024

hippo-1.jpg.jpg

A Blackburn company has set up its own in-house training scheme after struggling to recruit new technicians into its busy vehicle preparation centre.

Hippo Motor Group has launched the training academy in a bid to fill the widening skills gaps in the regional motor sector.

The Blackburn-based business has already welcomed nine recruits and has an ambitious target to find 11 more technicians before the end of March.

Craig Robinson, head of aftersales at Hippo, said: “I started out a motor apprentice myself and at that time careers in the motor sector were highly sought after.

“In recent years, particularly post-Covid, we have found less and less people seeking to forge a career in this area.

“And those who have done apprenticeships or degrees are lacking in practical experience.

“We didn’t want to lose such talent from the industry, so decided to do something about it ourselves.”

Shaun Robinson, a City & Guilds trainer for over 20 years, has been employed by Hippo to lead the new academy.

“Prior to joining Hippo I worked at several college and universities and have seen first-hand a dramatic reduction in the number of young people wanting to become mechanics or bodyshop specialists.

“And those who are qualified have struggled to gain the practical experience they need to then find a role.

“What Hippo is offering is a fantastic fast track opportunity and its proving to be a winning formula so far. 

“People are not only getting a job, but they are also getting official, certified training. We have an area of the workshop set up specifically for the training and mentors on the shopfloor to advise and guide.

“Four people have already been trained through the academy and five more have started their training programme and everyone is doing really well.”

In the next cohort of 11, the company would like to employ a mix of fully skilled and qualified staff. 

Craig said: “Qualifications of Level 3 or above in an engineering or motor vehicle discipline would be preferable, but overall, we are simply seeking people who have a good work ethic, who would love to join our busy, welcoming team.”

If you’re interested in finding out more about positions within the academy or other roles, please email [email protected].

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