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Iain Stewart MP for Milton Keynes South and Member of the Select Committee on Transport, visited National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) member Brian Currie DAF on Friday 17 November. On Monday 20 November, James Frith MP for Bury North and Member of Education Select Committee visited Perrys of Bury Vauxhall dealership.
The aim of the scheme is to encourage Parliamentary engagement and raise awareness of the significant contribution that the retail automotive industry makes to the economy of the UK.
On Friday, Milton Keynes celebrated its ‘Takeover Day’, an event led by the Children’s Commissioner for England which offers young people the chance to spend the day with some of the most important decision makers in their area. Iain Stewart MP, was shadowed by two young students who won the ‘Takeover Day’ competition and were chosen to spend the day with him.
The concern about skills shortage, especially after Brexit and the need to privatise, Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) testing to offer 24/7 service to operators were the main topics of discussion.
Brian Currie chairman of the Brian Currie Ltd commented, “We are focusing heavily on our apprenticeship and training schemes to get young people closer to our industry. However, in the short term, the risk of facing a skills shortage following the UK’s departure from the EU represents a serious concern for the truck business. To avoid serious employment issues, it is essential that we retain access to skilled EU workforce.”
Iain Stewart MP added, “There are a number of initiatives that local employers are working on to promote career opportunities to young people and we are seeing some positive changes. Training schemes and apprenticeships are crucial to ensure that young people are aware of the professional paths available to them when they leave school.”
James Frith MP’s visit to Perrys provided an ideal opportunity to discuss some of the main issues currently concerning the franchised automotive retail sector. In particular, these included Brexit and the priorities for the sector in light of the upcoming negotiations, as well as ways and initiatives to attract young people into the industry to address the skills shortage issue.