Industry heads back to school

Managing director of Rye Street Group, Bill Duffy and AutoRaise CEO Bob Linwood went back to school recently as part of their partnership to encourage young people into the collision repair sector.

One year on from what Bill refers to as the moment ‘a number of things changed forever’ within Rye Street Group’s culture, the exhibition stand formed part of a local high school career fair – one of many Bill and his team have been involved in over the past 12 months.

Bill said, ‘This careers event, last year, was the catalyst for a total change in our business philosophy. In the last 12 months, we have totally embraced the need to recruit and train more young people to address the ever increasing skills shortage, and we have taken on an additional seven new apprentices across the group with more to come.’

He continued, ‘We kick-started our apprentice recruitment campaign by hosting the first ever AutoRaise Industry Showcase Event back in February, and have maintained our momentum by attending careers events to promote both Rye Street Group and the industry to a number of schools and colleges, along with social media engagement and other marketing. It’s been a remarkable year.’

And for Bob Linwood, CEO of AutoRaise, it’s been even more remarkable period. ‘This event last year was one of the pivotal points; when I truly realised that I wanted to dedicate my career to working with great vehicle repairer businesses like Bill’s and to get more young people in to our industry. This event was a bit of an anniversary and when I reflect on the changes that have happened in my life and those that AutoRaise has already started to make within the industry, I can see that we have already put in the important foundations that will help us solve the industry’s skills crisis.’

Rye Street Group has had a presence at two large local fairs in the last two weeks with over 1,500 students attending, and it’s fair to say that they are reaping the rewards.

‘These two events have created interest in around 30 young people who we shall be looking to enlist as AutoRaise cadets and will continue communicating with to keep their interest in working for our business,’ explained Bill. ‘Attending these career fairs is key to attracting and unearthing new talent, and I would strongly recommend that my fellow repairers up and down the country find out for themselves what a rewarding and valuable experience it is for their own businesses.’