The IMI looks to the future with its 2023 Award Winners

IMI Annual dinner awards

Industry peers applaud excellence and spotlight innovation and ambition in a changing automotive landscape

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) last night celebrated the automotive sector’s outstanding individuals and organisations across the UK, joined by over 350 members, supporters and industry partners.

The 2023 IMI Awards include two new categories which align to the changing landscape of the sector. The President’s Award, focusing on Environmental, Sustainability and Green Innovation in Learning, was presented to UK Truck & Plant Group. The IMI Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Award was given to Volkswagen Group UK.

Recognising the continued and highly valued contribution individuals make to the automotive sector, Julia Muir, Founder of the Automotive 30% Club and last year’s winner of the IMI’s Sue Brownson Award, has become an Honorary Fellow of the IMI (FIMI). She is joined by industry veteran and former IMI President, Graham Smith OBE, who has also been awarded an Honorary Fellowship.

Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI said: “All of our winners and finalists are beacons of best-practice, determination and innovation, positively influencing change across our sector. Whether they are addressing our industry’s resources and skills shortages, rising to the UK’s carbon neutral ambition or driving the shift in the cultural diversity of our workplace, every entrant deserves the recognition.

“We are particularly delighted to welcome Julia Muir and Graham Smith OBE as Honorary Fellows of the IMI. The very different but equally vital roles they have both played and continue to play in shaping our sector, bring the promise of an exciting and hugely rewarding future.”

The winners of the IMI 2023 Awards:

Outstanding Contribution to the Automotive Industry – Auto Trader

Sponsored by Autotech Group
Working with the Carbon Literacy Trust, Auto Trader introduced a first-of-its kind Automotive Carbon Literacy Toolkit. It’s more important than ever that the automotive industry moves towards a carbon neutral model, and the free one-day course supports this. Designed in collaboration with several leading brands the toolkit helps to educate staff, suppliers and customers and encourage people take action to reduce their carbon footprint. Over 512 individuals have already been trained from 85 automotive businesses.

Contribution to the Work of the IMI – BMW Group Academy UK

Sponsored by LKQ Euro Car Parts
The BMW Group Academy UK was the first ever IMI TechSafe Centre of Excellence, delivering exceptional training and achieving the highest number of high-voltage qualified technicians in the industry. The Academy actively supports the IMI’s wider business objectives, from hosting European delegates on behalf of the professional body to supporting with the development of EPAs, such as re-shaping question banks and optimising assessment best practice procedures. The BMW Group Academy has many long-standing IMI members, with three staff members being awarded Fellowship of the IMI (FIMI) in 2022.

Apprentice of the Year – George Hinkley, Scania, South Mimms

Sponsored by GSF Car Parts
At 19 years old, George has already won a number of prestigious industry awards. Colleagues describe him as an outstanding employee at Scania GB, approaching each day with passion and dedication. With a wealth of facts and figures, George is constantly demonstrating his commitment to both personal and professional development. George was awarded a distinction for his Heavy Vehicle Apprenticeship standard in 2022.

Full-time Student of the Year – Thomas Morris, Bridgwater & Taunton College

Sponsored by LKQ Euro Car Parts
Thomas is a great role model and outstanding student, taking great pride in his work and attendance. Thomas is always willing to support other students and will help those who need it. He has faced various hurdles in his learning but has identified ways to ensure that he is learning in a way that suits him. Thomas is currently working through his qualifications and is looking forward to going into full-time employment in the automotive industry.

Partner of the Year Award - LKQ Euro Car Parts

Sponsored by Auto Trader
LKQ Euro Car Parts is forever championing the values of the IMI, demonstrated by its commitment to CPD, learning, upskilling, compliance and best practice. This year the organisation launched PDC Accredited programmes and continues to support the IMI in the ‘Road to Zero’ mission through its increased coverage of new-tech and EV qualifications. The company’s customer-focused approach, catering to all stages of the industry’s learning needs, results in it being a great contributor to the sector and a major player when it comes to reducing the skills gaps.

President’s Award - UK Truck & Plant Group (UKTP)

Sponsored by ALPHERA Financial Services
UKTP is leading the way in terms of environmentally friendly and sustainable business practices. It is pushing for a paperless office, incorporating new technology to eliminate unnecessary travel and even recycles around 91% of all the waste generated, such as engine oils, coolants, filters, and scrap metal. TUKTP has partnered with carbonfootprint and is set to be carbon negative by Spring 2023. With the environmental impact of the industry being as it is, this push for carbon neutrality is key to the future of the sector.

Equity, Diversity and Incusion Award – Championing Diversity in Automotive - Volkswagen Group UK

Jointly sponsored by NFDA and IGA
Volkswagen Group UK’s diversity and inclusion journey has gone from strength to strength. What started as a drive to increase the number of women in the sector grew to include a drive for cultural diversity, LGBTQ+ representation, disability and neurodiversity inclusion and more. Its work has led to dramatic increases in representation across all these areas, which is great news for the industry.

Special recognition awards:

Honorary FIMI - Julia Muir
Julia Muir is the CEO of Gaia Innovation Ltd, author of “Change the Game: A leader’s route map to a winning, gender-balanced business” and Founder of the Automotive 30% Club; a network of 70 automotive CEOs and MDs aiming for a gender balance in their businesses. She has 30 years’ experience in both OEM and automotive retail and specialises in encouraging business leaders to drive the change to create inclusive cultures and enabling women to achieve their potential. Julia is the leading voice on gender-balance and women’s inclusion in the UK automotive industry. The Club aims to achieve at least 30% representation of diverse women in key leadership roles by 2030. Julia organises activities including CEO and HR strategy discussions; the Inspiring Automotive Women Awards; and the Inspiration for Innovation Network of volunteers to engage with schools. Julia received the Sue Brownson Award by the Institute of the Motor Industry in 2022 and is a member of the IMI’s Diversity Task Force.

Honorary FIMI - Graham Smith OBE
Graham was educated at Trinity College Cambridge and Manchester Business School and joined Ford Motor Company in 1973 holding a number of senior Sales and Marketing positions during his time with the company. He joined Toyota (GB) in 1993, was appointed Marketing Director in 1994 and Managing Director in 1996. In 2006 he was appointed Senior Vice President, Toyota Motor Europe based in Brussels and subsequently in London. During his time with Toyota Graham took on a number of roles in the wider UK Motor Industry in addition to his executive responsibilities with Toyota. These included Chairman of the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, President of the SMMT, Trustee of the Industry Charity Ben, and finally President of the IMI a position he held for 7 years before stepping down in 2020. Graham was honoured with an OBE in 2008 for Services to the Motor Industry.