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David Drew, MP for Stroud, visited Bristol Street Motors Stroud Ford as part of a campaign by the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) to provide politicians with greater understanding of the motor retail sector, including the challenges it faces and the contribution it makes to local economies.
During his visit to the dealership, Mr. Drew spoke to the team working across all areas of the business, including sales and servicing, about their day-to-day roles, how the workplace has changed over recent years and how it might further develop in the future.
In addition, Mr. Drew met with Jim Higgins, Ford regional director for Bristol Street Motors’, to discuss how Vertu Motors plc, which owns Bristol Street Motors, is recruiting a workforce for the future by investing in talent through continued training opportunities across all areas and its industry-leading degree level apprenticeship scheme.
Jim Higgins, said: “We are very pleased to be able to support the NFDA’s ambition to provide politicians with a greater understanding of the sector. The automotive industry is a vital part of the country’s economy, providing thousands of people with employment and contributing billions of pounds in taxation.
“David Drew MP was very keen to speak with our colleagues about their work and learn more about how our parent company, Vertu Motors plc, is investing in training
to make sure we have the knowledge and skills needed as the motor industry continues to change. He was particularly interested to hear how our degree-level apprentice scheme is supporting young people to gain an undergraduate degree alongside high quality work place experience, without the debt associated with attending university, together with our wider technical apprentice programmes.
“I hope the visit was useful for him and he takes away a positive message about how businesses like ours are innovating and investing in people in order to contribute to the country’s economy for many years to come.”
Sue Robinson, Director of the NFDA, said: “The visit was an ideal opportunity to further strengthen the link between the retail automotive industry and government as well as outline the main priorities of the sector. It was encouraging to see that the industry is investing significantly in training and development of employees, particularly the young ones. Recent employment figures showing that over 590,000* people work in automotive retail reflect the efforts that are being made.”
David Drew, Labour MP for Stroud, said: “I enjoyed an informative visit to Bristol Street Motors, and was particularly interested to find out more about the different apprentice schemes they offer. These kinds of innovative approaches to education and training are vital to our economy, as well as broadening opportunities for young people.”
* Office for National Statistics – Annual Business Survey, 2016 released on 9 November 2017, accessed 05.01.2018
Photo caption: Left to right: Jamie Hughes, general manager at Bristol Street Motors Stroud Ford, Stephen Latham, Head of Operations & Truck Division at the NFDA, David Drew, MP for Stroud and Jim Higgins, Ford Regional Director at Bristol Street Motors.