Q&A: Drive Motor Retail’s Vikki Meadows

Driver Motor Retail

Drive Motor Retail’s Group HR Coordinator Vikki Meadows discusses how the firm’s getting ready for EVs and why apprenticeships are so important

What’s your induction process for new recruits?

We want every member of the Drive team to feel welcomed from day one by being given the tools and information they need to succeed in their role. Just as we want to ensure we recruit the right people into the business, we want to make sure the business is right for them. We recognise there are several key points to consider when welcoming a new starter into the business and ensuring a successful integration period.

This includes:

  • A standardised induction programme that gives everyone the same welcome to the company, providing information on our brand values and employee benefits. During this process, they’re also introduced to their colleagues on-site and to the teams at other dealerships and in head office
  • Role-specific training via our bespoke, industry-recognised Route to Excellence courses delivered by our in-house training team
  • Health and safety training relevant to the role and the dealership, delivered via our online training platform in the first few days on site, as well as regular refresher training throughout their careers
  • Where appropriate, employees will also undergo training to ensure they adhere to FCA guidelines, industry standards and manufacturer guidelines.

Good people can be difficult to find, so when we find talented, skilled recruits, it’s important that we onboard them correctly so they feel happy and confident in their role and portray Drive’s core values in everything they do.

How many apprenticeships do you run?

e offer various apprenticeship programmes throughout the business, predominantly in the bodyshop and aftersales departments.
In the bodyshop we average around eight new apprentices a year. However, 2021 sees our biggest intake with a further 10 starting. This is also true of our aftersales apprentices, with 12 new starters hoping to join in October. This is double our usual intake and shows just how valued apprentices are to the future of our organisation.

Why are apprenticeships so important to the business?

We recognise the benefits of home-grown talent and giving young people the opportunity to carry out workplace qualifications. Offering apprenticeship programmes means that we can provide people with the skills they need to complete their role to the high standards we require, whether technical or office based, while accrediting them with a professional qualification.
It allows us to future-proof our business by ensuring skilled staff are continually joining our team, having undergone all the required training while immersing themselves into Drive’s culture and values.

How are you managing the new skill-set required for the switch to plug-in vehicles?

With the development of EVs, our industry is changing quickly, and it’s imperative that we keep up with these changes to stay competitive.

We’re utilising the training and development programmes available through the manufacturers for as many of our colleagues as possible to keep us ahead of the game.

All our staff across all sites are hybrid awareness qualified, and we ensure sales and aftersales teams are regularly updated on changes to our product portfolio.

There is also a dedicated learning programme on alternative fuels and hybrid/electric systems as part of the apprenticeship programme, so newly trained technicians are confident working on these vehicles from the outset.

What is your key focus for the next six months?

Employee retention and satisfaction remains our priority. We’re working hard on some exciting changes to our current employee benefits scheme to ensure we not only attract the best candidates to the company but also show our appreciation to our dedicated team members.

We continually look to train and develop our team, but this focused project will hopefully allow us to further improve our staff retention, ensuring every one of our team are committed to a happy and successful career at Drive Motor Retail.