Matt Clay, Group Qualifications Manager, Lookers

Matt Clay Group Qualifications Manager
March 23, 2021

About Lookers:

Lookers is an award-winning, UK-wide motor-retailer, employing over 9,000 people in sales and aftersales across 160 franchised-dealerships, with over 500 apprentices in varied disciplines, including Customer Service and Service Technicians. It offers dynamic and inclusive pathways providing support, progression and development to every apprentice. It has a strong tradition with apprenticeships, recruiting around 150 Technical Apprentices annually and offering market-leading training and benefits alongside a plethora of opportunities for unparalleled personal growth and achievement.

Have you won any Apprenticeship Awards?

  • 2017 NE Macro Apprentice Employer of the Year
  • 2017 Top 100 Apprentice Employer
  • 2018 NE Macro Apprentice Employer of the Year
  • 2018 Highly Commended Macro Apprentice Employer of the Year
  • 2019 AAC FE Week Apprenticeship Diversity Award

How did you go about recruiting apprentices?

Internally, apprenticeship vacancies, advertising, school, Connexions or Jobcentre Plus.

What business benefits have apprentices brought to your workplace?

Apprentices provide a tangible return on investment. Our Core Program, Light Vehicle Maintenance Technicians, provide a net return of £96,000.

We developed an ROI Model to demonstrate the commercial return apprentices deliver to the business, by simply tracking the efficiencies and producitivity for full time staff, working alongside an apprentice, throughout the program duration.

We coupled this data with the 2021 vision, to fill all skilled vacancies with Lookers Apprentices, in turn reducing associated recruitment costs. This combined modelling proved a return of £9m p.a. for the Apprenticeship Program.

What are the benefits of employing apprentices which other recruitment routes wouldn’t offer?

Apprenticeship enabled a non-commercial benefit regarding diversity. Within our skilled technical population, we have 1,200 people. Of the 1,200 qualified technicians, we have one female. Data shows gender diversity in the current labour market is limited. Therefore apprenticeships provided a route to attract young female apprentice tehcnicians, growing a diverse workforce in the process. This is evident with a 2,600% increase in female representation on Apprenticeship Program over the past 3 years.

What do you offer your apprentices?

Apprentices are offered a standardised wage structure, increasing based on age and stage of program. They are provided the standard benefits all employees access, including cycle to work scheme, enhanced holidays, 1x full year’s maternity pay, continued career development. Apprentices are also offered a place on the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award Program.

Do you employ people from a diverse range of backgrounds and demonstrate equality in the workplace?

Lookers is committed to addressing gender diversity, specifically in vehicle workshops. In 2016, there were 230 apprentices on program, with one female apprentice technician. Over the last three years, there have been 27 females start on-program, indeed in 2019, 10 female apprentice tehcnicians were recruited in a single cohort. Across the Lookers business, female apprentice techncians has seen the highest growth in gender diversity, testament to this commitment,

Would you recommend apprentices to other businesses and young people?

Apprenticeships provide a fantastic route into amployment. Businesses are becoming better educated to the commercial return apprentices provide, due to their ability to embed rich learning directly into an organisation. Apprenticeships provide not only a route into employment, but also help fast track a career, due to their focus on developing contemporary knowledge, skills & behaviours, designed to succeed in business.


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