Thousands of caravan and motor home owners, dealers and repairers are set to benefit from a new apprenticeship programme specifically designed for the industry, which has been launched by specialist automotive college, Emtec, part of Central College Nottingham, in partnership with industry bodies.
The CITO (Caravan Industry Training) National Apprenticeship programme is the first to be designed to develop technician apprentices to equip them with the highest level of skills and practical ability within the Caravan and Motorhome industry. They’ll get the most up-to-date manufacturer specific knowledge, and competencies they can put into direct action in their workshops following training sessions at Emtec.
Supporting the programme are industry heavyweights, IMI (Institute of the Motor Industry), CITO (Caravan Industry Training), and NCC (National Caravan Council).
Jon Rawson, Head of Emtec Ltd at Central College, said, “As one of the UK’s leading automotive training organisations, we have worked with the lead bodies in the sector to devise this programme. The industry is on the verge of significant change and we are delighted to be contributing to that progression.”
Jenny Pritchard, Head of CITO at Skillsactive Services, said, “The development process for new Apprenticeship programmes can be long and challenging. It is so rewarding for those of us who have been involved since the start to see Emtec pick up and run with a valuable training product that is clearly going to be welcomed by caravan workshops.”
According to the National Caravan Council, caravanning is a major generator of income and employment within the national economy and tourers are the most popular leisure accommodation vehicle in use in the UK. England is the largest tourer manufacturing base in Europe.
“Frank Finch, Code Manager for the National Caravan Council, said: “Caravans and motorhomes have evolved significantly in terms of design and technology and therefore the skills within the industry also need to evolve. Industry needs well trained and well qualified technicians, working to high standards in approved workshops, able to respond to customers’ needs. This new Apprenticeship is set to help the industry improve its skills base to meet this demand and hopefully attract new technicians of the future.”
The Apprenticeship and Advanced Apprenticeship are structured around the IMI’s Caravan and Motorhome Maintenance and Repair diplomas but with extra modules including 12V/240V electrics, caravan servicing and ACoPs Gas Competence to meet the Approved Workshop Scheme (AWS) technician requirements. The programme takes around three years to complete and will ensure the UK Caravan and Motorhome network is supplied with the next generation of highly skilled employees and potential managers of the future.
Recent IMI research has found employers investing in an automotive Apprentice are likely to get a return of between 150 per cent and 300 per cent on their investment, with Apprentices typically generating profit within 18-24 months. The research also found ‘home grown’ apprentice-trained technicians invariably outperform market-recruited technicians.
Malcolm Hairsine, UK Business Development Manager for the IMI, said: “We have always been involved in sectors which have technologies parallel to those in the caravan and motorhome industry and we have previously supported sectors which have gone through significant change. This industry is on the cusp of change and we want to support that and help develop more great opportunities as it moves forward.”