Management and leadership

Q&A: Swansway’s Scott Smith

Tristan Young, Editorial Director, Auto Retail Network | 15 Jan 2020

Q&A: Swansway’s Scott Smith

Tristan Young, Editorial Director, Auto Retail Network | 15 Jan 2020

In this article:

Swansway’s Head of Recruitment and Apprenticeships Scott Smith talks recruitment, apprenticeship levy and hiring the right talent for the job


How do you make sure you’re getting the best talent?

We have a recruitment team which sits within our HR department and we use various methods to recruit the best talent to Swansway including; job advertising, talent pooling, headhunting and market research.

What are the key requirements for people entering your company?

For all apprenticeships there are minimum GCSE grade requirements, these are: Maths, English and Science grade 4 and above. For apprenticeships, we hire on ability and what personal qualities they can bring to the role rather than qualifications. For every person wanting to join Swansway they must be aligned to our values of caring, honest and proud.

Every new hire into Swansway will go through our company induction where they’ll meet a member of the Smyth family [which owns Swansway] and find out more about our family heritage.

What apprenticeship training schemes do you carry out?

We have various schemes which we run across the business, but two-thirds of our apprenticeships are in aftersales and tend to be technician, parts advisor and service advisor qualifications. Earlier this year we trailed a digital marketing apprenticeship which has proved a huge success which we are rolling out to our full dealership network.

What is the aim of this training?

With our aftersales apprenticeships we found it was becoming increasingly difficult to recruit quality talent into this area, especially technicians. We put a big focus on our technician apprenticeships so we could grow our own talent to meet our business objectives.

The technician apprenticeship is a three-year qualification which includes a lot of brand specific training, over the three years the apprentice receives training and testing around every area of the role of a technician, once they graduate we will offer them a role as a technician.

What impact did the apprenticeship levy have on your business?

Initially we found it very confusing and didn’t know where to start, now we have educated ourselves around what the levy means for us, and have focused on ensuring our levy pot is maximised and helps to meet our business objectives.

What leadership development programmes do you run?

Our management workforce receive regular one-to-ones and coaching from our director team. Although we do no formal Swansway programmes, we ensure our management teams have completed brand management training. A lot of Swansway managers are home grown but they have to be brand accredited to do their role. The accreditation covers several areas from recruitment, leadership skills and people development.

What is your key focus for the next six months?

In January we see the launch of our new recruitment system which will streamline our recruitment process and make the candidate journey more memorable and help us tap into passive candidates.

We are planning on overhauling our HR policies and procedures to ensure they remain consistent and up to date.

We will continue to develop our digital marketing apprentices so we have one in each dealership.

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Richard Ellacott

+44 (0) 20 3771 7242

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