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The Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) has launched a motor finance specialist apprenticeship to offer employment and training opportunities in the sector.

The launch of the apprenticeship is the culmination of 18 months of discussions between FLA members, brokers, dealerships and professional bodies, to devise a training programme that matches the specific skills and knowledge required in a market where 88% of private new car purchases are made using motor finance.

The one-to-two-year, Level 3 apprenticeship uses a core curriculum which then branches into options to suit either finance specialists who work for a lender, or retail specialists, who liaise directly with car buyers in dealerships.

The independent assessment process examines several areas, including knowledge of finance products, regulatory compliance and customer service.

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.”

The initiative adds to other successful FLA member programmes, including the Specialist Automotive Finance (SAF) scheme launched in 2007, which is designed boost professionalism in motor dealerships and increase consumer confidence in car finance.

A more demanding SAF Advanced qualification was added in 2016.

Sue Husband, director of the National Apprenticeship Service, said: “Through apprenticeships, we are making it easier for employers to attract a diverse range of apprentices, helping them to acquire top talent and tackle skills shortages associated with an ageing workforce by training and upskilling.

“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.”

A new section on the FLA’s website provides information that companies will need to launch their apprenticeship programmes.

The training providers signed up to deliver the apprenticeship programme are 3aaa, Calibre Group Solutions and Simply Academy.