ILC ARTICLE

Fix Auto Dagenham takes on first apprentices supported by Enterprise Rent-A-Car levy transfer initiative


Fix Auto Dagenham is the first bodyshop to enrol new apprentices on a programme supported by Enterprise Rent-A-Car through an innovative government-approved levy transfer initiative. Levy transfer enables large companies to allocate any of their unspent apprenticeship levy to help other businesses invest in developing talent.

The Enterprise programme will fund two apprentices to be employed and trained by Fix Auto Dagenham. The initiative has sufficient funding to enable up to seven qualifying repairers from Enterprise’s approved repairer network in England to apply for support towards the cost of apprentices.

As the third largest vehicle repairer in the UK and as an award-winning work provider to the bodyshop sector, Enterprise is committed to supporting its repairer network. Enterprise is also one of the UK’s largest providers of replacement vehicles to bodyshops. The company offers dedicated customer mobility programmes that enable bodyshops to focus 100% of their manpower and resources on repairing vehicles while ensuring customers have transport when and where they need it most.

Nick Sweetman, Enterprise UK/Ireland Vehicle Repair Manager, explains: “We were really pleased with the response from our repairer network after we launched our levy transfer initiative earlier in the year. With an excellent track record of employing apprentices, it’s fitting that Fix Auto Dagenham is first to come on board.

“Over the past 25 years, since we opened our first branch in Reading and began to partner with bodyshops, the replacement sector has been essential to Enterprise’s UK success. We are so grateful to have this opportunity to give something back to the industry, especially at a time when bodyshops face challenges from changing consumer requirements and vehicle technologies, combined with a severe shortage of experienced staff. We look forward to enrolling other bodyshops and apprentices onto this programme.”

Fix Auto is a global bodyshop brand with operations in nine countries including the UK, Canada, USA, Australia and Germany. It has 100 bodyshops across the UK.

Paul Cunningham, Commercial Director for Fix Auto Dagenham, added: “The Enterprise apprentice levy transfer programme is a ‘no brainer’ and we are delighted to be the first bodyshop to come on board. We believe it is vital to give young people opportunities and this type of initiative is essential as it helps to support that approach. I recognised it as an opportunity to grow our apprenticeship team, which benefits the whole supply chain as it means we can be more productive.

“With forward-thinking companies like Enterprise leading the way, I hope this initiative will inspire more of our industry stakeholders to follow suit in addressing the skills shortage. We all need to work together to resolve this fundamental industry issue.”

Beth Freemantle, Talent Acquisition Manager at Enterprise, said: “We want to use our apprentice levy as a resource to benefit everyone. Alongside developing our existing employees and hiring new talent into the business, we now have the opportunity to support our partner network and supply chain.

“This is our second apprentice levy transfer and we are currently also supporting a leadership programme for women-owned businesses. I hope that such initiatives will encourage other companies to think about the best way that they can gift their unspent levy to benefit their partners and SMEs, as well as third sector organisations and charities.”

AutoRaise, a charity dedicated to addressing the skills shortage in the vehicle repair industry, is the partner chosen to administer the programme.

Bob Linwood, CEO of AutoRaise, said: “Enterprise was first to market with this brilliant initiative. As its existing partner, we were delighted to assist in the rollout of this important programme. We are in active dialogue with a number of Enterprise repairers and it is clear that there are many new opportunities for young people to come into the industry.

“Working together is essential to bring fresh talent into the bodyshop industry. We have proved that great things can be achieved when we work as a team. I’m delighted that Enterprise’s effort and innovation are being rewarded by getting new apprentices in to the sector.”

The apprentice levy transfer is an effective way for larger, levy-paying companies to support their corporate social responsibility goals. The grant must only be used for new starters who are placed on a new apprenticeship standard.

Repairers can register their interest by contacting the AutoRaise team at enquiries@autoraise.co.uk and together, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and AutoRaise will implement registration and offer consultation for the next steps. The AutoRaise team will guide the process, including discussion around the recruitment of young people and signposting businesses to approved training providers for those bodyshops that lack experience of employing apprentices.

'Enterprise was first to market with this brilliant initiative. As its existing partner, we were delighted to assist in the rollout of this important programme.'

Bob Linwood, CEO of AutoRaise

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