Our make a difference strategy extends to ensuring we support the wider technology community as well as help to shape the future of the automotive industry.
To encourage the next generation of technology talent, we took part in the Manchester Digital Apprenticeship Scheme and welcomed five Software Developer apprentices. We also partnered with the University of Manchester to offer the opportunity for two students to work with us on data science projects over the summer, as well as offering a Ph.D. scholarship to one of their students.
We continue our participation to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects and careers by supporting two local schools and clubs in the Manchester area. We run ‘Code Clubs’ to teach young children how to code and this year we hosted Manchester Girl Geeks BarCamp conference which supports the talent and development of females in STEM careers.
The technology industry, as well as the automotive sector, has a significant challenge with diversity and Auto Trader is pleased to support and actively create initiatives that will attract women and minorities to enter the industries as diversity is a key part of business success. Alison Ross, our Customer Experience and Operations Director, was named Woman of the Year at the Women in IT Awards this year, recognising her contribution to these goals.
As a customer focused business we are committed to looking at ways to improve the process of buying and selling vehicles for consumers and retailers alike. We have changed our sales approach, removing commissions, and our packages; both of which enable us to promote best practice and equip our sales teams to create strong business partnerships with our customers helping add value to their businesses.
This year over 4,000 of our retailer customers attended a masterclass, webinar or conference designed to share best practice advice, helping them to succeed in today’s changing digital automotive marketplace. These sessions allow us to demonstrate the importance of using data and insight to drive traffic to their digital forecourts. We also run separate discovery days with our customers, designed to gain their feedback on the value they derive from Auto Trader as well as the products and services we offer.
Last year marked the ninth annual Auto Trader Click Awards, established to recognise digital excellence and reward the most progressive and innovative retailers in the industry. Nearly 100 customers from franchise groups, independents and supermarkets attend this prestige event to celebrate success and to hear the latest insight from the Auto Trader team.