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Chairman Adrian Smith on how the current economic climate makes the IMI more relevant than ever.
It will come as no surprise to hear that the Motor Industry has been going through a difficult time in recent years. The current economic climate continues to pose many threats and throw up new challenges for automotive businesses, with consumers cutting back on their mileage, as well as spending less on maintenance and repair.
Further, the automotive sector is also racing to keep up with uniquely changing skills needs. Vehicles are becoming ever more sophisticated, bringing new challenges to motor vehicle technicians. Meanwhile, customer buying habits are changing to accommodate the rapid advancement of online technology leaving some businesses in the position of needing to adapt or risk disappearing from the public eye.
The challenges are many, but it is precisely because of these challenges that an over arching body such as the IMI is more relevant than ever. The IMI’s vision is to ensure that the automotive retail sector has a skilled, competent and professional workforce, able to keep pace with the demands of new technology and changing markets. We understand that, in order to reach our vision, we need to find comprehensive and viable solutions to the challenges faced by the sector.
Nowhere can this understanding be seen more clearly than in the considerable work that has taken place in 2012/13 towards the delivery of the Professional Register as a viable Voluntary Licence to Practise for the sector. The Professional Register is a physical embodiment of the IMI’s vision and values and underpins all the other work strands we are undertaking. I look forward with great anticipation to seeing the positive impact the Register will have in the coming years.
The Professional Register forms the cornerstone of an extensive work programme being undertaken by the IMI. Through this year’s Annual Report you will see how the IMI is working on solutions to key challenges across the sector. These include attracting and retaining talent, meeting current and future skills needs, addressing the needs of management and leadership, challenging public perceptions and developing up-to-date and relevant qualifications in a changing environment. The IMI really does have something for everyone and I believe there are exciting times ahead.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank the team at the IMI and IMI Awards, the members of the Group Board, IMI Awards Board and sub-committees, along with the many volunteers whose dedicated commitment and hard work play a significant role in helping the Institute fulfil its ambition of meeting the professional needs of the retail motor industry’s workforce and employers.
Finally, I would like to welcome Steve Nash, who joined the IMI as Chief Executive Officer in January 2013 from his position as Aftermarket Director at BMW. Steve is extremely well known and respected in the sector and brings with him a wealth of motor industry experience. Steve’s previous role as President of the IMI also means that he understands the vision and values of the organisation extremely well and I am certain that Steve will be hugely successful in his new role.