Fleet News

EU help for skills shortage

A SKILLS shortage in the body repair industry in the UK could be solved by the 10 countries that recently joined the EU.

Alan Hodgkinson, chief executive of repair network ABS, said agents for his company were currently interviewing skilled repair technicians from the countries and believes about 100 could soon be at work in the UK.

Those that joined the EU recently were Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus and Malta. Under EU rules, transfer of labour and skills across borders is easily possible.

Hodgkinson said: 'The repair industry in the UK has been suffering from a skills shortage for years and there is no end in sight. However, the arrival of skilled individuals from the new EU countries does offer one possible way of alleviating this problem.

'Of course, it is too early to tell how large their impact may be but we certainly have a reasonable number of ABS repairers who are very interested in taking on skilled people from these countries. Our agent is currently undertaking interviews in the Czech Republic and will soon be at work in Poland.

'There are some hurdles to overcome in terms of language and understanding the qualifications that they hold but much of the work we have seen so far has been of a high standard.'

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