GALLERY: Vikings have landed in Skegness promoting thousands of jobs in vehicle repair sector

The ‘Vikings’ have landed in Lincolsnhire raising funds for the charity promoting thousands of career opportunities in the vehicle repair sector.

Forty cars are taking part in the AutoRaise car rally, which is travelling 330 miles along the Viking Way from Norfolk and arrived at the Premier Inn car park on Thursday afternoon.

The rally, which takes in the Linolnshire Wolds as well as the Coast, arrived a little later than expected due to the busy roads and some of the cars not having air conditioning and teams in Viking costumes having to stop on the way in the blistering hear to cool off.

After a few minutes stop, they headed to the Baccus Hotel in Sutton on Sea for a late lunch and then on to the Humber Bridge, before ending the day at Brigg.

Today (Friday), they continue their journey, taking in Cadwell Park in Louth.

The rally, sponsored by UPOL, has been inspired by an Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) report that 45,800 vehicle technicians will be required in the next 10 years.

Participants, mostly dressed as Vikings, are enjoying competitions on route, with regular pit stops, and will conclude their journey with a gala dinner and champagne in Lincoln.

The rally started at the global headquarters of Lotus sports cars in Hethel, near Norwich.

Insurance companies, vehicle repairers and organisations involved in the industry joined the line-up to increase awareness of the apprenticeships available to young people across the sector.

Participants have also been also encouraged to fundraise for AutoRaise and it is hoped their efforts will raise £150,000 to help the charity further promote careers in vehicle repair.

Many of the cars involved in the rally have been restored by apprentices working in body shops across the UK.

The Rally precedes the first meeting of a new forum – The Repair Sector Action Forum (RSAF) – which is being led by AutoRaise. It aims to bring together industry leaders to discuss new ways of attracting talent into the sector. The Forum, which is planning its inaugural meeting in November, is being driven by the charity’s recently appointed General Manager Matt Caldicott.

Matt said: “This industry is one of the most exciting to work in and young people should be enthusiastic about their career prospects in vehicle repair. We need to fling open the doors of the bodyshops of today to show the technology, innovation and creativity inside.

“It’s vital we attract new talent into the sector to ensure we have enough trained technicians to support the industry.

“Demand has increased for skills that can diagnose and fix issues with electric vehicle technology and autonomous systems, as well as safely repair accident-damaged vehicles more quickly.

“The AutoRaise Rally promises to be an action-packed two days for partners and supporters of the charity – and we hope to raise a lot of money and awareness to help us tackle the vehicle repair sector crisis.”

Simon Smith, Managing Director of Solus Accident Repair Centres said: “Over the last few years, we have seen a skills gap emerge off the back of people leaving and entering the industry in unequal ratios.

“This is why we are delighted to support AutoRaise and its efforts to increase awareness of this very important issue.”

Visit their fundraising page here.

Related topics: