BMW and JLR create learning programme

BMW and Jaguar Land Rover have joined forces to create a learning programme intended to drive up managerial skills in the UK automotive industry.

The ProLead training programme combines existing qualifications to provide automotive leaders with in depth management and technical knowledge.

The programme was developed using best practice from the worldwide operations of UK based car manufacturers, and was funded through the Automotive Industrial Partnership.
BMW and Jaguar Land Rover are working together to ensure it becomes a standard qualification, and are also aiming to turn ProLead into a Higher Apprenticeship programme.

Dr Simon Farrall, head of apprentice and associate training at BMW, has been leading the programme, and spoke of how it is intended to give its staff experience and confidence in managerial roles.

He said, ‘The ProLead training is aimed at first line disciplinary manufacturing leaders who have formal responsibility for around 50-60 people. It is a big job but those in the role have had little or no formalised training until now.

‘This is a critical management level – it is the first position where the buck stops with them. They need the tools and confidence to make decisions and improve the performance of their team.’

The programme takes between six and 40 weeks to complete, depending on the individual’s learning path. It uses formal classroom-based training, supported by the completion of assignments and on the job learning hours, and leads to an NVQ level 4. While one or two of the modules are automotive specific, the skills it teaches can be applied in other industrial sectors.

Jon West, HR director for manufacturing at Jaguar Land Rover, said, ‘When we reviewed the training, delegates told us that it’s filling the gaps in their knowledge and explaining some of the science behind the daily tasks that they do in plant. They feel that it will help them to improve their job performance, achieve targets, but also make them feel more engaged with the business.’

Steve Barden, a BMW process leader who has completed Institute of Leadership and Management parts of the programme, said the qualification would help him understand the role.

He said, ‘The management and leadership elements of ProLead deepened my understanding of my own leadership behaviour and have enabled me to work much more effectively.

‘I’m really looking forward to building on this throughout the programme.’

BMW and Jaguar Land Rover anticipate putting hundreds of people through the programme over the next few years.