GTG to host event on apprenticeships

GTG West Midlands have announced that they will be holding an exclusive, free event offering advice to attendees covering everything about the changing world of apprenticeships – Apprenticeships-A new world for employers.

Attendees can find out how the new Apprenticeship reforms can grow your business, and hear from industry experts.

Date: Tuesday 6th June 2017

Time: 2.30pm – 4.30pm

GTG Training
Bearing Drive
Wolverhampton WV11 3SZ

Key topics will include:

  • Apprenticeship Levy
  • New apprenticeship standards
  • End point assessment
  • Quality guidance
  • Transfer of funds to suppliers
  • Devolved nations

The event will be hosted by leading training specialist Beej Kaczmarczyk , who brings his many years’ experience as an expert in education policy, management, planning, teaching and learning across a range of sectors.

Beej will be be joined by two guest speakers, each offering advice on how to maximise new opportunities:

Julie Gibson
With over 20 years of experience in a number of key roles as a school, college and industry expert. Offering quality and compliance guidance and the changing role of the employer in this process.

Bob ‘Kaz’ Kaczmarczyk
Managing Director of Colourful Solutions (management consultancy) and formerly senior manager roles in Sainsbury’s, Jessops and Homebase.

Complimentary refreshments will be provided and there will also be a networking opportunity after the event.

Places are limited, so please reserve your space today to avoid disappointment.

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Employment Law update – May 2017

IAAF service member, Xecutive Search, has highlighted the following items of legislation which have now come into force.

Trade Union Act (March 2017)
The latest Trade Union Act measures came into force on 1 March 2017. Designed to protect workers from the ‘effects of undemocratic strike action’, the new legislation puts tougher requirements on trade unions, aiming to make industrial action less likely.

Features include an additional requirement in the public sector for at least 40% of entitled ballot voters to vote in favour of industrial action, as well as a requirement for more information on the ballot paper itself. The measures also double the current notice period to be given, meaning that employers will now have 14 days to prepare for industrial action.

Finally, there will be a new ballot threshold. In order for any ballot to be valid, at least 50% of those eligible must vote. Until this point, there have been no minimum turnout requirements.

Gender pay gap (April 2017)
From 5 April 2017, businesses and charities with 250 or more employees will be required by law to publish and report on their gender pay gap (measures for the public sector kicked in in March). Specific figures will range from the gap in hourly pay and bonus to the proportion of men and women in each pay quartile (or ‘range’).

Employers will need to publish their gender pay gap data, plus a written statement, on their website, and report online using’s on line tool.
Most businesses we insure have fewer than 250 employees, but you can of course report voluntarily if you want to.

Apprenticeship levy (April 2017)
Businesses with an annual ‘pay bill’ over £3 million must pay the apprenticeship levy from 6 April 2017. A pay bill is the total wages paid to an employee (or group of employees) within a specific time period.

If this one affects you, you’ll need to report and pay the levy to HMRC through the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) process.

Remember, the levy won’t affect how you fund training for apprentices who started a programme before 1 May 2017. You’ll carry on funding these under the terms in place when the apprenticeship started.

Apprenticeship advertising (April 2017)
From 1 April 2017, it will be against the law to falsely advertise work as a statutory apprenticeship. The law also makes it illegal to wrongly describe someone as an apprentice within your business. The maximum penalty you’ll receive will be a fine, so double-check any apprenticeship contracts and terms you have and ensure you’re already compliant.

Non-statutory apprenticeships are currently discounted from the ruling.

The new National Minimum Wage (NMW) (April 2017)
The NMW changes every April and currently depends on two things: the employee’s age, and whether they’re an apprentice.

The current hourly rates rates for the NMW are £3.50 for an apprentice, £4.05 for employees under 18, £5.60 for employees aged 18-20, and £7.05 for those aged 21-24.

Remember, employees must be at least school leaving age to receive this.

The new National Living Wage (NLW) (April 2017)
Employees must be aged 25 or over to get the NLW, and the new hourly rate is £7.50.

Immigration skills charge regulations (April 2017)
This update primarily affects businesses employing Tier 2 migrant workers in skilled jobs. The charge will be £1,000 a year for every employee, reduced to £364 for small or charitable organisations. You’ll usually be considered to be a small business if your annual turnover is £10.2 million or less, and/or you have 50 employees or fewer.

The charge exempts PhD-level jobs and international students moving from student to working visas. It also leaves out those in the Intra Company Transfer Graduate Trainee category.

Tax-free childcare scheme (April 2017)
In terms of employment law, definition can be quite loose. So whilst this mainly affects parents rather than employers, we’ve kept it in as a key change for many self-employed parents.

The tax-free childcare scheme is a new government initiative, designed to help working parents (including the self-employed) manage the cost of childcare.

Briefly, for every £8 a parent pays in to their online account, the government will pay in an extra £2. Parents will be able to get up to £2,000 a year for each child under the age of 12, and £4,000 for disabled children aged under 17.

You’ll need to be in work and expecting to earn £120 minimum a week, and each parent can’t be earning more than £100,000 a year. Read’s article for more information on who’s eligible and how to benefit.

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Historic vehicles’ MOT consultation

In September 2016 the DfT opened a consulation on proposals to implement an exemption from testing for vehicles over 40 years old.

This included options to:

  • exempt all vehicles over 30 years old
  • have alternative testing requirements
  • remove the exemption

The DfT did propose that vehicles which have been ‘substantially altered’ would not be exempt from testing.

The consultation closed at the beginning of November last year, following which the DfT was analysing the submissions, including that of the IAAF.

A statement has recently been issued by the DfT advising that they had been preparing to make an announcement, but this was forestalled by the calling of the General Election. As they are unable to make announcements during the Election campaign, the DfT has stated that they will have to wait until a new Government has been formed.

Once the results of the consultation have been published, the IAAF will issue a report.

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Ford dealers now offer servicing and parts for all vehicle makes

Ford dealers in Europe are now able to supply parts and servicing for all makes of non-Ford vehicles following the introduction of the new Omnicraft brand from the Ford Customer Service Division (FCSD).

For the launch, Ford focused on developing the most commonly requested parts, including oil filters, brake pads and discs, starter motors and alternators. In the coming months, Ford will introduce engine and cabin air filters, brake master cylinders and wheel hub assemblies, amongst other parts.

John Cooper, vice president, Ford Customer Service Division, said: “Omnicraft is the first new brand offered by FCSD in more than 40 years and is an important growth opportunity for dealerships as they will be able to sell parts and offer service for all vehicles.”

At launch, Omnicraft parts will be available at more than 4,000 Ford Stores and Ford dealerships across 11 markets in Europe, with a further roll out to Ford approved distributors later this year.

Ford also offers its Ford Motorcraft complete line of replacement parts for older Ford vehicles.

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Volvo to ditch diesel, VM’s boss suggests

Volvo could be set to ditch diesel engine technology for its cars within the next five years.

Chief executive of the Swedish VM, Hakan Samuelsson said the cost of making diesel more emissions friendly could mean the brand’s current generation of diesel engines, introduce in 2013, could be the last.

Speaking to German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, he said: “From today’s perspective, we will not develop any more new-generation diesel engines.”

Diesel alternatives

Diesel will remain to be key for existing models but replacement models due for release after 2020 are more likely to be powered by petrol, plug-in hybrid or electric, with the Swedish car maker’s first all-electric model due to go on sale from 2019.

Samuelsson told Reuters: “We have just launched a brand new generation of petrol and diesel engines, highlighting our commitment to this technology.

“[But] we have to recognise that Tesla has managed to offer such a car for which people are lining up.

“In this area, there should also be space for us, with high quality and attractive design.”

It comes as diesel continues to face heavy criticism for emitting dangerous levels of nitrogen oxides.

The cost to meet strict emissions regulations has also seen Renault announce that it will no longer produce small engine diesels while Volkswagen increasingly turns its investment to petrol-hybrids for the next generation of Polo.

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Vauxhall reintroduces scrappage scheme

Vauxhall is reintroducing its Scrappage Allowance Scheme, which offers customers £2,000 towards a new Vauxhall when they trade in their old car for scrappage.

The scrappage programme is eligible on selected new models ordered and registered before 30 June. The programme allows customers to turn in their old vehicle and get £2,000 towards the cost of a new model from Vauxhall’s award-winning range. Drivers can choose from ADAM, Corsa, Meriva, Astra and Mokka X models.

Leon Caruso, Vauxhall’s retail sales director, said, ‘Not only can customers potentially swap their older, often higher polluting car for a cleaner, more efficient brand new Vauxhall, but they can also use scrappage in conjunction with some of Vauxhall’s other great finance offers.’

As part of the scheme, vehicles must be traded in to be scrapped in order to be eligible for the allowance.

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Voting opens for Garage of the Year

The winner of Garage of the Year will be announced at 1pm on 7 June in the ‘workshop training zone’ at Automechanika Birmingham.
Automechanika Birmingham, in partnership with Garage Wire, has announced the shortlist of garages in the running to win the £1,000 cash prize for Garage of the Year.

The public can now vote for its favourite until 2 June, with the winner to be announced at 1pm on 7 June at the NEC during the Automechanika Birmingham exhibition in the ‘workshop training zone’.

As a new initiative, the organisers were overwhelmed by the number of entries from garages and the judging panel has finalised a shortlist of 13 workshops who will go head to head for a peer vote.

GW director, James Onions said: “The standard of entries was incredibly high as the applications showed the huge variety of garage businesses operating successfully throughout the UK by tailoring their services to meet local demand.

“However, some clear common themes emerged amongst entrants too.

“These included first, an entrepreneurial flair to adapt to changing car and consumer technologies; second, willingness to invest – typically in premises, skills development and equipment then finally, heart-felt commitment to customer service and transparency.”

Garage of the Year shorlist

  • Anderson Clark Motor Repairs
  • Bartlett Automotive Limited
  • Bryan Swales Auto Repairs
  • Community Motors
  • Crescent Motors
  • D&D Autos
  • EAC Telford Ltd
  • Five Star Autocentre
  • Garej Bowydd Garage Ltd
  • MotorServ UK Solihull
  • Philips Garage Limited
  • Revs Motors Ltd
  • SMSI LTD (Scalloway Motors)

The organisers have thanked DURA and who are supporting the new competition by offering additional prizes to the £1000 cash prize.

Peers can vote for Garage of the Year online before Friday 2 June.

Simon Albert, event director at Automechanika Birmingham, said: “I’d like to extend special congratulations to all of the workshops who have made the cut for the new Garage of the Year competition.

“We are delighted with the number of entries for the first year of this award.

“The response reflects that if workshop owners are serious about their business, Automechanika Birmingham is the event which will benefit the day to day running of the workshop.

“With many new features, this competition confirms a bigger and better offering for workshops at the 2017 event.”

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ZF drives the Aftermarket with exceptional customer focus

Effective immediately, Helmut Ernst, Head of ZF Aftermarket, will lead all market and product topics within the organisation. His predecessor Neil Fryer has left the company at his own request to take on a new assignment outside ZF.

Helmut Ernst

Immediately after the acquisition of TRW by ZF in May 2015, the integration of the former two aftermarket organisations began the creation of a united market approach as one ZF aftermarket organization, with effect from 1 January 2017. Ernst emphasized Fryer’s contribution: “He played a decisive role in shaping the ZF Aftermarket organization while simultaneously keeping the customers’ expectations and experience always in the focus. We thank him for his achievements and support in the course of the integration.”

With his team Neil worked continuously on the optimization of the product and service portfolio to secure market growth for the customers. “The dedicated team, all of whom are aftermarket experts, will shape together with me the mobility of the future in the aftermarket”, promised Ernst.

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Euro Car Parts’ response to CMA investigation

Martin Gray, CEO, of Euro Car Parts has issued a response to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) initial investigation into the acquisition of Andrew Page.

“The UK aftermarket offers a competitive environment for franchised and independent garages, businesses and consumers who purchase a wide variety of parts on a regular basis. As such, we appreciate the importance of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) initial investigation and note that the process is proceeding as expected.

“We remain committed to ensuring that the Andrew Page ‘brand’ continues to thrive in the UK. Andrew Page celebrates its UK centenary this year and our intention is that it should continue to grow, with the support of the LKQ Corporation.”

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Future-proofing the independent automotive sector

During the recent Mechanex event held at Event City in Manchester, IAAF member Smart Garage Solutions hosted a panel discussion which looked at future-proofing the automotive aftermarket.

L-R: Mike Smallbone, Ben Smith, Damien Parkes and Gavin White at Mechanex Manchester

Mike Smallbone, IAAF’s membership development manager, was one of the speakers looking at the role of the IAAF, the threat from the VMs pertaining to the Connected Car concept, the relaunch of the R2C in the Digital Age and its importance once the current BER legislation comes to an end in 2023. As it’s a piece of EU legislation and not UK legislation, it is not clear at this stage what the situation will be like in 6 years’ time. In addition, the IAAF response to the recent MOT consultation was covered.

Other panelists, under the chairmanship of Rob Cowling of Smart Garage Solutions, included:

  • Quality & Customer Service – Damian Parkes; ServiceSure
  • Trust & Transparency Issues – Ben Smith; Smart Garage Solutions
  • Shortage of Technicians – Gavin White; Autotech Recruit

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