AFP Appeals for Fleet Managers to “Trailblaze” New Apprenticeship

Date: 18th July 2023

Experienced fleet managers are being sought by the Association of Fleet Professionals to help deliver a new apprenticeship standard for fleet specialists.

Up to 20 individuals are required to form a “trailblazing” group to create an apprenticeship standard, working alongside the Institute for Apprenticeships. When the content is approved, they will be expected to recruit apprentices into their organisation.

AFP member Matt Neale, who is leading the apprenticeship drive, said: “Once the structure of the apprenticeship is finalised, the trailblazing group need to be ready to recruit apprentices straight away.

“So far, we have eight fleet managers and their companies willing to make this pledge, but we need another 10 or more in order to get the final go-ahead for the apprenticeship. We’re therefore very keen to hear from people and their employers who are interested in taking part.

“By the time everything is hopefully in place, apprentice recruitment would need to start in 2025, so there is quite a lot of time for companies to make plans and get funding approved internally – but we do need a commitment relatively soon.”

Matt explained that initially the apprenticeship was likely to be Level 3, designed to provide an entry point into the sector, appealing mainly to school and college leavers.

“We need administrators to start the journey into the fleet sector because they are integral to the daily running of fleets. Once they have completed their apprenticeship, they can progress towards becoming a fleet manager, which is where the AFP’s structured range of training courses can help develop individuals. This is the journey that I have taken through the industry.

“Currently, the issue is we just don’t have enough talent coming through at the entry level to create a succession process and replace the many experienced fleet professionals who are within a few years of retiring. Knowledge and experience are in danger of being lost from our industry and the apprenticeship could be an important step in preventing this.”

Paul Hollick, AFP chair, added: “The creation of a fleet specialist apprenticeship standard would be a huge boost to the industry. While there are many highly qualified and capable fleet managers in our sector, supported by training and qualifications available through the AFP Fleet Academy, this is not a profession with a recognised entry route. Having an apprenticeship would change that and provide a structured career path into the fleet sector.

“In the future, especially as fleet managers continue to evolve into mobility specialists, an apprenticeship could sit alongside career choices in other corporate specialisms such as human resources and procurement, providing a steady stream of talented individuals into the sector.”

Paul explained that while the AFP fully backed the idea of an apprenticeship, the creation of any new initiative needed to be almost entirely reliant on industry participation.

“The way that the apprenticeship approval process is structured means the AFP can only play an enabling role and getting people on board. Much of the work so far has been done on an individual basis by Matt Neale, working with other members of our organisation, so much kudos to him.”

Anyone interested in becoming part of the apprenticeship trailblazing group should get in touch with the AFP at [email protected].

Paul said: “This is very much a question of employers putting their money where their mouths are. If the industry wants a fleet apprenticeship standard – and we believe it needs one – there must be a group of businesses willing to participate in the process and ultimately create jobs, putting in place the support, resources and mechanisms that apprentices need.”