Vantage Motor Group take the Gaia approach in their search for future talent

In July 2018 Vantage Motor Group appointed Gaia Innovation to run its Search for a Star programme for their Toyota dealerships in Birmingham, Leeds, Preston, Wakefield and Wolverhampton with the specific aim of appointing fresh new talent into its Vehicle Technician Apprenticeship Programme.

Whilst Vantage has been committed to developing young people through its apprenticeship programmes for many years, the company recognised that a fresh approach was needed to ensure that the best local talent was attracted to their business.

The way in which customers search and buy cars is evolving, with more and more people using the internet.  Also due to technical advances in cars such as electric cars and self-diagnosing cars, the way in which they are serviced/repaired is also changing at a quick pace; with technicians now needing to understand how computer programmes work as much as how a car engine and equipment works.

It was with this in mind that Vantage recognised that a new approach to recruiting apprentices was required.  The process needed to be more robust and detailed to ensure that students understood what would be required of them as well as Vantage ‘getting to know’ and fully appreciate the skills of the applicants.

The programme started with ‘reaching out’ to all secondary schools in Birmingham, Leeds, Preston, Wakefield and Wolverhampton.  During this phase of the programme, we spoke to circa 1700 students and facilitated positive meaningful interactions between them and the business professionals from Vantage.

We visited the following schools: Saltley School, Waverley School, Tile Cross Academy, King Edward VI School, Leeds City Academy, Morley Academy, Cooperative Academy of Leeds, Walton-Le-Dale, Ashton Community Science College, Penwortham Priory Academy, All Hallowes Catholic High School, Airedale Academy, Kettlethorpe Academy, Our Lady and St Chads Catholic School  and The Royal School.

Over 220 students registered their interest in attending an open evening event, which were held at each of the five sites, to be informed further and inspired to join the retailing side of automotive.

The events were held throughout January and February, with many members of the Vantage team either taking part in the evening activities or attending to show their support.  The evenings were also attended by Janine Shepherd, Group HR Specialist, Dale Baker, Aftersales Director and Martin Reid from the Toyota Apprenticeship Training Programme. The evening events were again designed and managed by Gaia Innovation.

A selection of parent comments from the dealership open evenings:

“Brilliant evening- very impressed with the whole Toyota training structure. The fact that Toyota wishes to retain workers is such a good sign of work satisfaction.”

“Very informative, well organised, everyone was very approachable. The sense of pride in the company is clear from all those involved.”

“We thought the evening was very informative. It demonstrates just how thorough the professional training programme is.”