Construction work has started on a brand new purpose-built £17 million BMW Group Academy UK at Wokefield Park near Reading.
The training and development centre, due to open in 2006, will provide all technical and non-technical training for the BMW, MINI and Motorcycle dealer networks and will also be available to BMW Group’s employees throughout the UK.
BMW (UK) Limited has signed a long term service agreement with Initial Style Conferences Limited, the UK’s leading provider of training and conference centres and a subsidiary of Rentokil Initial plc, to provide its dedicated training facilities.
Jim O’Donnell, Managing Director of BMW UK, said: "Recruitment and retention of skilled people are critical issues facing the automotive sector. In order to meet the growth in BMW and MINI UK sales volumes in the next three years, we need to increase the number of people working in our dealerships from 9,000 to more than 11,000. With the number of days training forecast to increase by nearly 30 per cent by 2010, our agreement with Initial Style Conferences will ensure that we are able to meet this challenge."
The BMW Group Academy UK will incorporate a workshop with 32 bays, 25 training rooms and a BMW, MINI and Motorcycle showroom to simulate a working dealer environment. The centre will also feature a dedicated apprentice training area with its own accommodation facilities and clubhouse for the current intake of 60-70 apprentices per year.
Doug Flynn, new Chief Executive of parent company Rentokil Initial, was present at the ground breaking ceremony and said: "I am delighted that Initial Style Conferences has been appointed by BMW to provide the new BMW Group Academy UK. The provision of dedicated residential training facilities, tailored to the needs of leading corporations in the UK, remains the unique speciality of Initial Style Conferences."
Alastair Stewart, managing director of Initial Style Conferences, added: "We look forward to welcoming BMW to Wokefield where they will join Xerox and KPMG at the UK's leading venue for corporate learning and employee development."
Initial Style Conferences was founded in 1978 and is the UK's market leader in the provision of dedicated residential training and conference centres with 29 venues across the UK.
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