The Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) has launched an apprenticeship programme for motor finance, in conjunction with a number of employers.

The programme is directed at developing skills for roles in either retail outlets or finance companies. The FLA will provide guidance to member firms that want to set up internal apprenticeships, also providing contacts for training services providers.

Apprenticeships are intended to last between 18 and 24 months, though the FLA says they can also be completed in 12 months. The assessment process, conducted independently from the employer and the FLA, will examine apprentices’ knowledge in areas including finance products, regulatory compliance and customer service.

As with all apprenticeship programmes in the UK, employers will be required to pay a national levy.

Adrian Dally, head of motor finance at the FLA, said: “The Apprenticeship Standard will help to attract new talent who want to build their careers in motor finance. This kind of commitment to the industry is good for competition, customer service and the responsible provision of credit that is central to this market.

“FLA members have a history of investing in training for dealership staff, including development of the Specialist Automotive Finance (SAF) programme that has been running since 2007. We added the more demanding SAF Advanced qualification in 2016, and are now introducing modules to the original SAF programme to ensure there is a SAF training option for every career stage.”

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Sue Husband, director at the National Apprenticeship Service, said: “The Motor Finance Specialist Apprenticeship offers the opportunity to specialise in a key growth area of the automotive industry, with learning outcomes spanning the sale of motor finance products, financial regulation and compliance and customer service.

“With recent reforms to apprenticeships firmly focused on improving quality in the system and giving employers the skills they need, there has never been a better time to take on an apprentice.”