HGV suppliers offer new apprenticeships in collaboration with Reaseheath College

Reaseheath College has secured 25 new apprenticeship positions for young people thanks to a new collaboration with heavy good vehicle commercial parts suppliers.

The Level 2 and Level 3 HGV specific parts, sales and marketing apprenticeships will run in partnership with the Independent Motor Trade Factors Associated Ltd (IFA), one of the most successful motor factor buying groups in the UK. The group identified a gap in the market for training young people and offering a career path within the HGV parts sector and looked to Reaseheath for a training solution. After a meeting with the Cheshire college’s apprenticeship team on campus on Monday (24th January), fifteen IFA employers identified Reaseheath as their preferred training provider.

IFA group joined by Reaseheath engineering staff

The IFA group will work in partnership with the Reaseheath’s apprenticeship team (Reaseheath Training) to develop the bespoke parts, sales and marketing apprenticeship programme specific to the HGV parts supplier field. Apprentices will study on a block release basis with the programme designed to enhance their customer service skills and contextualise their role in the business. Training will include selecting and issuing parts, receiving and ordering parts, processing orders and customer service all specifically focused on the heavy-good sector. The first cohort of apprentices will begin their training September 2017.

Simon Smedley, spokesman for the IFA responsible for the sourcing of a training solution, and director of HGV Direct, said: “We’ve found a clear gap in provision when comes to specific training for young people entering field of heavy duty parts supplies. Working with Reaseheath to deliver this specific programme of study is just what the industry needs to enhance our reputation as both a viable and attractive career option for a young person.”

Reaseheath’s Head of Apprentices Sharon Yates added: “We are delighted to be working with the IFA group to further broaden career opportunities for young people. We look forward to working closely with the IFA to ensure this brand new training programme really meets the needs of our employers.”

For further details on these and other apprenticeships contact Reaseheath Training on 01270 613221 or email apprenticeships@reaseheath.ac.uk

Your Comments

Help sought with development of new IAAF member benefit

The IAAF is working towards the launch of a brand-new benefit that will help members gain peace of mind that their vehicle fleets are safe, cost effective and legally compliant. To this end, the IAAF has selected FleetCheck to join our IAAF Service Member network.

To help us finalise this key project and proceed to launch as quickly as possible, the IAAF is looking for assistance in developing the new product from member companies.

We need members who would be willing to complete a very short, very simple survey. The feedback will help improve understanding on how IAAF members approach and prioritise the practicalities of running a fleet of vehicles, no matter how big or small.

Members can rest assured that responses will be totally confidential. The sole purpose of the survey is for the IAAF to gauge how to deliver the most relevant and effective support to members needing assistance in what can be a complex and often misunderstood area of the business.

The survey can be taken HERE.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Mike Smallbone at the IAAF or Steve Hutton, FleetCheck’s Head of Marketing.

Thank you in advance for helping the IAAF to develop another great IAAF member benefit.

Your Comments


PSA confirms talks to buy Vauxhall and Opel from GM

PSA has confirmed it is in talks to buy General Motors’ European Opel and Vauxhall operations.

If the move were successful it would create Europe’s second biggest carmaker behind Volkswagen.

In a statement PSA said: “PSA Group confirms that, together with General Motors, it is exploring numerous strategic initiatives aiming at improving its profitability and operational efficiency, including a potential acquisition of Opel. There can be no assurance that an agreement will be reached.”

Vishwas Shankar, an analyst with Frost & Sullivan, said: “In the last eight years ever since GM retired or sold Saturn, Pontiac, Hummer, Saab, Opel in Europe was always waiting for a big announcement.

“With PSA in the driver seat, Opel might find a new address and parent in 2017. PSA’s interest in Opel could be the link to Russia. Russia will be Opel’s biggest market in 2020.”

Bloomberg said that PSA was considering the deal to gain scale, get access to Opel’s engineering and electric-car technology as well as cutting costs through greater buying power.

“Both carmakers have gone through painful restructuring in recent years. GM, which has lost billions in Europe in the past two decades, closed a factory in Bochum, Germany, the first auto plant to close in the country since World War II, while PSA shuttered a facility in the Paris suburb of Aulnay.

“While those moves helped ease overcapacity concerns, the two manufacturers largely target similar customers in Europe’s competitive and mature auto market,” it added.

Reuters reported that a deal could take place quickly and commented on the historical links between the two companies.

“A deal may be announced within days, the sources said. GM and PSA already share production of SUVs and commercial vans, a relic of their last attempt to forge a broader alliance, which was unwound in 2013 with the sale of the U.S. carmaker’s stake in PSA.

“Together, PSA and Opel would command a 16.3 percent share of the European car market share compared with Volkswagen’s 24.1 percent, based on 2016 data.”


Vehicle Safety Recalls: January 2017

These are the vehicles, parts or accessories recalled by manufacturers for a safety reason during January 2017.

You can check for vehicle, part or accessory recalls or find out more about vehicle recalls and faults by CLICKING HERE.

DVSA ref no Make and model Issue
R/2016/236 Toyota: Corolla Driver’s side airbag inflator may rupture
R/2016/244 Ford: Transit Connect/ Tourneo Connect Panoramic roof glass may detach
R/2016/263 Chevrolet UK: Captiva Possibility of fire
R/2016/264 Vauxhall: Antara Possibility of fire
R/2016/267 Vauxhall: Meriva B Seat belt may not function correctly
R/2016/272 VW: Tiguan (5N) Front seat backrest may collapse in a collision
R/2016/274 Vauxhall: Meriva B & Astra K Front passenger airbag may not deploy as intended
R/2016/283 SsangYong: Rodius & Turismo Shock absorber may fail, causing front wheel to rub on wheel arch
R/2016/288 Jeep: Cherokee Seat may not perform correctly in a collision
R/2016/289 Land Rover: Discovery Sport, Range Rover Evoque with 2 ltr diesel vehicles with automatic transmission Electrical short circuit
R/2016/295 Toyota: Lexus – NX200T & NX300H Parking brake may not activate correctly
R/2016/306 Mercedes-Benz: Sprinter Trailer hitch may detach
R/2016/308 Volvo Bus: B5LH 7900 Engine hatch may show closed in error enabling engine to be started
R/2016/309 Rolls Royce: Dawn Front mounted side airbag may fail to deploy in a collision
R/2017/005 Volvo Bus: B5LH Engine may overheat
R/2017/006 MAN Bus: P20, P21 & P22 Maintenance flap may open unintentionally
R/2017/007 Fiat: Talento Incorrect load capacity listed for interior hooks
R/2017/023 Wrightbus: Streetvibe, Streetlite & Streetdeck Parking brake can be released before full air pressure is achieved
RCOMP/2017/001 Scorpion Automotive Ltd: Datatool S4 Red/Triumph Accessory alarm/immobiliser Alarm/immobiliser may malfunction
RM/2016/036 Honda Motorcycles: CBR300RA 2015 – 2016 MY Engine may stop/stall and fail to re-start
RM/2016/047 Suzuki Motorcycles: DL650A/XA L2-L6 (Motorcycle) and LT-A750X-XP L6-L7 (ATV) Engine may stall and/or fail to restart

Your Comments

Waitrose launches fleet of CNG-fuelled trucks with 500-mile range

Supermarket group Waitrose has introduced a fleet of CNG (compressed natural gas)-powered trucks with a range of up to 500 miles.

It has teamed up with CNG Fuel and will use technology developed jointly with Scania and Agility Fuel Solutions, a CNG fuel systems and cylinders company based in North America.

This will help overcome concerns about the distance that CNG-powered lorries are able to cover before refuelling.

Ten new Scania-manufactured CNG trucks entered operation for Waitrose in January and will be used to make deliveries to the company’s stores in the Midlands and the North.

They are the first in Europe to use twin 26-inch diameter carbon fibre fuel tanks which store gas at 250 bar of pressure to increase range from around 300 miles to as much as 500.

It will allow them to always run entirely on biomethane, which is 35% to 40% cheaper than diesel and emits 70% less CO2.

The carbon fibre tanks, which are already in use in the US, were adapted and certified for the European market by Agility Fuel Solutions, thereby offering significant advantages over the standard European set-up of eight steel gas tanks.

The vehicles are half a tonne lighter, hold more gas and can cover a greater distance depending on the load being carried.

Each of Waitrose’s new CNG trucks costs 50% more than one which runs on diesel, but are expected to repay the extra costs in two to three years with fuel savings of £15,000 to £20,000 a year depending on mileage.

Its vehicles are likely to operate for at least five more years, generating overall lifetime savings of £75,000 to £100,000 compared with a diesel equivalent.

Each lorry will also save more than 100 tonnes of CO2 a year (versus diesel).

Justin Laney, general manager central transport for the John Lewis Partnership, said: “With Europe’s most advanced CNG trucks, we will be able to make deliveries to our stores without having to refuel away from base.

“Using biomethane will deliver significant environmental and operational benefits to our business.

“It’s much cleaner and quieter than diesel, and we can run five gas trucks for the same emissions as one diesel lorry.”

Philip Fjeld, CEO of CNG Fuels, added: “High pressure carbon-fibre fuel tanks demolish the ‘range anxiety’ concerns that have made many hauliers reluctant to move away from diesel to CNG.

“Renewable biomethane is far cheaper and cleaner than diesel, and, with a range of up to 500 miles, it is a game-changer for road transport operators.”

Your Comments

Launch UK awarded Best Business 2016 by Launch Europe

Launch UK has been awarded the honour of “Best Launch Business 2016” by the brand’s European division.

The UK operation, based in Plymouth, is the only genuine distributor of Launch products in the UK and this accolade highlights the high quality of its customer service from the point of sale through to aftersales support.

Launch UK prides itself on raising awareness to the full potential of the diagnostic products produced and supplied by the prestigious Launch brand.

Dave Richards, Launch UK managing director was delighted with the win, commenting: “This recognition reflects the true quality of our products and also highlights how highly we are regarded in the UK aftermarket. Only Launch UK can provide genuine quality Launch branded diagnostic equipment, backed up with technical support, 24-month warranty and, on our professional range, two years free software updates worth £425.”

“Going forward, we have a number of new exciting products coming to market in 2017, all of which are designed to generate additional revenue for independent garages.”

The X431 PRO range available from Launch UK is renowned for its versatility and ability to diagnose vehicle faults remotely on 90 percent of all European, Asian and American vehicle brands. Using a 7 or 10.1-inch screen on a handy touch-screen tablet, the PRO has been designed to enhance functionality for the user.

Launch UK is set to exhibit at Automechanika Birmingham 2017, promoting and demonstrating the potential of its full range of automotive diagnostic tools on stand 19A81, allowing customers to experience first-hand the value of genuine Launch products.

Your Comments

Legal Update

Lawgistics have issued reminders to employers about increases to the National Minimum/Living Wage and also on the new legislation which will come into effect on 6 April for those employing more than 250 employees regarding the publication of information on the gender pay gap.

National Mininum Wage

Both the National Minimum wage and the National Living Wage are set to increase from April 2017. All employers need to ensure they are paying the minimum.

The rates from 1 April 2017 will be:

• £7.50 per hour – 25 years old and over
• £7.05 per hour – 21-24 years’ old
• £5.60 per hour – 18-20 years’ old
• £4.05 per hour – 16-17 years’ old
• £3.50 for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over who are in the first year of apprenticeship.

If a company is not paying the minimum wage, HMRC officers have the authority to carry out checks at any time and request to see payment records. They can also investigate employers if a worker complains directly to them. If the HMRC find that the employer is not paying the minimum wage, then they can send a notice for the arrears owed as well as a fine. If this is still refused by the employer, HMRC can issue proceedings on behalf of the employee.

The employee themselves could also file a claim via an employment tribunal or via the County Court. In County court the employee will have up to 6 years to bring a claim from the last date of when they were under paid where’s as employment tribunal has a much shorter time scale of 3 months less one day. If an employer dismisses an employee if they are trying to assert their right to the minimum wage then they would also have a case against the employee for unfair dismissal.

It is the employer’s responsibility to retain records showing the minimum wage is being paid to employees. This can be done via their payroll as evidence and the records must be kept for 3 years.

Gender Pay Gap Information

A new piece of legislation, The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 will be implemented from 06 April 2017.

The legislation is applicable to employers with 250 or more employees. They will be required to publish the figures on their company website and produce the evidence of the company’s compliance each year to the Government. A designated website by the Secretary of State will also be available to upload all gender pay reports, which includes the name and job title of the person who signed the accompanying statement.

The companies affected will also be required to calculate and publish the figures for any gender bonus gap, the proportion of men and women that receiving a bonus as well as the proportion of men and women working at each quartile of the company’s pay distribution. This is not the same as equal pay; this is to evaluate the difference in the average pay between men and women over a period of time with no relation to their job role.

Applicable companies will need to publish their first report by April 2018 and will be required to retain the gender pay figures online for three years in an attempt to show progress being made.

Before this is implemented, companies are advised to look at updating any policies to help address any gender pay gaps such as flexible working, people development, enhanced paternity leave and equal shared parental leave entitlement.

Your Comments

HR Update

Lawgistics, the IAAF’s legal helpline service provider, has issued the following advice to employers on how to deal with an employee request for flexible working:

Every employee who has completed 26 weeks of continuous service has a statutory right to make a request for flexible working. Flexible working request is required to change the working hours or work arrangements. The employee does not need to have childcare or family responsibilities to be able to make this request. The request could be permanent or for a fixed period of time. Most requests are related to childcare, travel time or work life balance. Only one request in any 12 month period is allowed.

The employee needs to put the request in writing, include the date of the request and state whether any previous applications have been made prior. The employer then has 3 months to consider the request and decide. If the request is refused, it must be due to a sound business reason for the rejection. The employees request should outline the change they are seeking and date from when they would like the change to take effect, together with any changes to the working conditions and how this may affect the business.

If an employer receives a request from the employee, a meeting should be arranged to discuss the matter and ideally this should be carried out as soon as possible. This will give an opportunity to discuss the changes that are being sought.

By law, it is required that the request is completed within 3 months, this includes any appeals.

A refusal of a request, must be from one of the below:

• the burden of additional costs
• an inability to reorganise work amongst existing staff
• an inability to recruit additional staff
• a detrimental impact on quality
• a detrimental impact on performance
• detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
• insufficient work for the periods the employee proposes to work
• planned structural changes to the business.

Employees are able to complain to an employment tribunal if the employer –

• did not handle the request in a reasonable manner
• wrongly treated the employee’s application as withdrawn
• dismissed or treated an employee poorly because of their flexible working request, eg refused a promotion or pay rise
• rejected an application based on incorrect facts.

An employee will need to make the complaint to the tribunal within 3 months of:

• hearing their employer’s decision
• hearing their request was treated as withdrawn
• the date the employer should have responded to their request (but failed to do so).

Employees cannot complain to a tribunal just because their flexible working request was rejected.

Your Comments

People News

Celsus UK Limited appoints Mike Keenan as Director of Sales

Celsus, distributor of JL Audio, Dynamat, KICKER and Calearo products, has promoted Mike Keenan to the newly-created role of Director of Sales to help accommodate the company’s ambitious expansion plans for 2017 and beyond.

Mike Keenan

Having joined Celsus UK back in July 2007, Mike will soon be celebrating his 10 year anniversary with the automotive and marine audio specialist.

Initially recruited as Sales Account Manager, Mike’s extensive industry experience and product knowledge was soon put to good use, strengthening the company’s long-term relationships with its retail network and helping to deliver positive customer experiences when working with the various product ranges in Celsus’ portfolio.

His promotion to European Sales Manager in 2012 saw Mike act as the main point of contact within the company for its existing European distribution partners for JL Audio and Dynamat, as well as being the touchpoint for all prospective customers. Added responsibility came when Mike was tasked with overseeing the expansion of JL Audio’s territory across Europe in 2014, broadening the reach of its high-performance marine audio range.

Commenting on Mike’s latest promotion to Director of Sales, Managing Director, Paul Baker said: “Mike Keenan is well respected by Celsus’ customer base, and thanks to the relationships he has forged with the retail network he has been instrumental in the growth of the business over the past decade.

“I have complete confidence in Mike’s ability to assist in the continued growth plans we have for the company this year and in the future.”

Moving into this new position, Mike will now take responsibility for overseeing all sales for Celsus, something he sees as expansion of his current duties within the business.

Mike said: “I really value the strong relationships that I’ve developed with our customer base over the years, and going forward I still expect to speak to them directly on a regular basis.”

In addition, he will also manage Celsus’ internal and external sales teams (including recent recruit Anthony Zammit) as well as working closely with director, Mark Baker, on business strategy and consistency in the automotive and marine sectors of the business.

“It will be my responsibility to motivate the sales teams to help us reach our company objectives for 2017 and beyond,” continued Mike. “I already have a head full of ideas and can’t wait to get started.”

Your Comments

FIGIEFA seeks Technical Advisor

FIGIEFA (International Federation of Wholesalers of Automotive Replacement Parts), is looking for a Technical Advisor (full-time or substantial part time) to support the activities of its office in Brussels.

FIGIEFA is the European federation and political representative in Brussels of the independent wholesalers and retailers of automotive replacement parts. Together with its 19 national European Member State members, it represents the interests of more than 30,000 companies trading with vehicle parts, components and accessories throughout Europe. The aim of FIGIEFA is to safeguard a legislative environment in the EU that provides free and fair competition in the automotive aftermarket. In this context, ensuring continued access to technical information for independent market operators and the availability of spare parts, is of crucial importance for our association in a rapidly changing automotive technology environment.

Job Description
• Manage all technical and IT related (e.g. the ‘connected car’) dossiers and processes in connection with FIGIEFA activities in the area of the automotive aftermarket.
• Advise FIGIEFA in all technical and IT related matters related to e.g. telematics or access to technical information or EC type-approval legislation.
• Participate in meetings (in Brussels or EU) upon request of FIGIEFA (such as e.g. EC Working Groups, telematics working groups, legislative requirements for the access to repair & maintenance information, CEN or UNECE standardisation meetings, FIGIEFA working group meetings) and assume responsibility for the management of the corresponding technical subjects and dossiers.
• Support the FIGIEFA Secretariat in its information activities and meetings.
• Advise and prepare answers on upcoming questions from the EU institutions.
• Liaise with FIGIEFA’s partner alliance AFCAR (Alliance for the Freedom of Car Repair in the EU).
• Communicate with FIGIEFA experts and work out common strategies, statements and positions.

Desired profile
• Experienced automotive technical expert or qualified engineer in computer science – IT architecture or mechanical automotive engineering (preferably with specialisation in vehicle communication, diagnostics and electronic components or contemporary and developing vehicle technologies).
• Good English language skills (oral and written).
• Interpersonal communicational skill to participate in meetings with business partners and counterparts.
• Capable of assessing the business consequences of new legislation, automotive technologies and service procedures.
• Proactive person, capable of working on his/her own, but in close cooperation with the FIGIEFA Secretariat.
• High degree of availability and flexibility required: Capacity and willingness to work on the basis of flexible working hours.
• Availability for frequent trips when necessary to other European countries.

• Full-time or part-time employment contract or freelance contract also possible on the basis of a 3 year assignment. The ideal candidate would preferably be located in, or would be prepared to move to Brussels. In the event of a freelance contract involving commuting to Brussels, a maximum 2 hours travelling distance to Brussels is obligatory.
• We offer you a diverse and challenging position within a multi-national and political environment that tackles a wide range of technical issues.
• Start: immediately.

To submit an application, please contact the FIGIEFA office direct.

Your Comments