Car industry faces skills gap due to cost-cutting

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THE North East motor industry is facing a skills gap, says a leading recruitment specialist.

Washington’s Ingenia Recruitment has seen a rise in demand for experienced technicians but a decrease in the availability of suitable candidates.

Recruitment assistant Lorraine Vasiljevic said the problem was the result of industry cost-cutting.

“Over the years it has become harder to find enough suitably experienced and trained candidates to place into the many vacancies that arise,” she said.

“During the previous recession and this current one, companies have laid off apprentices or been reluctant to recruit them in the first place.

“The long-term ramifications are now beginning to bite, as experienced technicians are beginning to realise their value and demand higher wages.

“Over the years, dealerships have offset these increased costs of labour by increasing their charge-out rate but are now at the point where customers are reluctant to take their vehicles to franchised dealerships for repair.

“If the work does not go into these dealerships and ends up in independent, non-franchised workshops, then there is a risk of sub-standards repairs, which is borne out by the number of complaints made to trading standards.

“If customers do not take their vehicles to franchised dealerships then they cannot achieve their targets so they start laying off staff – a vicious circle.

“Good technicians can be productive in their second year, thus paying for themselves if trained and coached properly.”

For further details, contact Ingenia Recruitment on 415 5010 or email