But as many players feel they have conquered their difficulties from falling new car prices and even larger used car price falls, organisers of the Professional Development Programme are expecting demand to take-off over the next year. The programme was launched in 1999 to 'usher in a new era of professionalism for the contract hire and leasing industry'.
Run in conjunction with the Nottingham Trent University, under the direction of leading motor industry academic Professor Peter Cooke, head of the Centre for Automotive Industries Management at Nottingham Business School, it raised expressions of interest from about 200 people. The six stage programme covered an introduction to the rental and leasing industries, Foundations of Management, Certificate in Management (Automotive Industries), Diploma in Management Studies (Automotive Industries), Master of Business Administration (Automotive Industries) and MSc in Strategic Leadership (Automotive Industries).
But the first course did not launch until this year, with the first residential module taking place for 15 students at the start of this month for a Certificate in Management (Automotive Industries). The certificate is aimed at individuals in the industry who wish to progress their careers and are possibly in their first management role. Successfully completing the certificate counts at one third of an MBA.
Colin Tourick, managing director of CitiCapital Fleet, formerly Associates Fleet Services and chairman of the leasing and fleet management committee of the BVRLA, said: 'In years to come, we are hoping that thousands of people will sign up to the initiative. An awful lot of work has gone into the programme but last year was not the greatest for organisations to pay for courses for staff. I believe more people will see the opportunity this year. Employees can also speak to their employers to ask to go on the courses, instead of waiting to be asked.'
Nora Leggett, head of member services for the BVRLA, said the association was now focused on building up demand for future courses, adding: 'It is fair to say the gestation period for the programme has taken longer than we envisaged. Getting to the individuals who would most benefit from attending these courses is a real challenge for the BVRLA. For details on the courses, call Nora Leggett on 01494 545713 or email her at email@example.com.