News, views & analysis blogs by: Phil Lunn


Phil Lunn :
Get recognised for your contribution to industry skills


Phil Lunn :
A pioneering way of recognising employer support for a campaign to raise skill levels has been launched by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), the automotive retail industry’s Sector Skills Council and professional association.

The IMI’s SkillMiles scheme awards points to individuals and businesses who support the drive for better skills and it acknowledges both financial and ‘in kind’ contributions, including individual time and effort. A tiered points system ensures that contributions made by individuals and organisations large and small are weighted fairly. There are four levels of recognition – bronze, silver, gold and platinum, achieved according to the total number of points accumulated.

Once a business or individual is registered via the scheme’s web-site ( they can earn SkillMiles points for particular activities, which are given a value by the IMI, such as participation on working groups or loan of equipment, for example, as well as financial donations. Points are a means of measuring specific effort which can be recognised officially by the industry.
The SkillMiles scheme will also demonstrate to government that employers and individuals in the automotive retail industry are making valuable contributions to skills development, which had not been recognised previously on a national level.

The SkillMiles initiative complements the IMI’s ongoing ‘Proud to be professional’ campaign, which promotes the importance of best practice and ethical behaviour in improving the reputation of the industry to consumers. The IMI plans to highlight the SkillMiles scheme at its Annual Dinner on 11 March, at the Café Royal in London.

Steve Nash, Aftersales Director, BMW Group UK and Chairman, IMI Executive Board, said:

“We all carry some accountability for ensuring that our workforce continues to evolve and develop to the benefit of business and its customers. The SkillMiles scheme provides a meaningful way of acknowledging efforts and paying tribute to those who are actively making a difference to the industry through their work and commitment to improving performance, many of whom are unsung heroes.”

Terry Barcham, Managing Director, Snap-on Tools, which has signed up to SkillMiles, earning recognition for its ‘Excellence in Education’ programme, commented:

“At Snap-on we are extremely gratified to see the IMI driving the pursuit of excellence in our industry. It should be apparent to all of us in the automotive business that we have a gap between perception and reality as to how complex, technologically advanced and customer focused the sector has become. SkillMiles will be a powerful component in changing that perception.”

The launch of SkillMiles follows a recent commitment from the IMI to boost apprentice numbers by 40,000 across the sector over the next five years. It has reduced its apprenticeship administration charges by 40% and abolished the registration fee of £20, leaving a single fee of £30 per person, payable upon completion of the apprenticeship.

To register on the SkillMiles scheme, visit

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