Halfords set to recruit more than 700 people to fill roles across the country

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Following an exceptionally strong year in both the motoring services and cycling parts of its business Halfords is set to recruit more than 700 people to fill roles across the country.

The company, which has 404 stores and 374 garages, has roles for Vehicle Technicians, MOT Testers, Cycle Technicians, Auto Technicians, Store and Autocentre colleagues, Department Supervisors and Management.

The company invests heavily in training to give its people the skills they need to develop their careers – whether that’s providing advice and services to customers in store or helping garage technicians acquire the skills they need, including qualifying to service and repair electric vehicles.

Halfords partners with the Institute of Motor Industry (IMI) and DVSA to develop qualifications and training and is one of the few employers to offer every technician a pathway to becoming an MOT Tester and Hybrid trained Technician.

The company runs four purpose-built training academies in Basingstoke, Northampton, Bolton and Halifax and spent £1m on technician training in the last year alone.

As well as training and career development opportunities, Halfords offers competitive pay, performance related bonuses and incentives, pension contributions colleague discounts and a range of other benefits.

Halfords has a long and proud history of offering roles to service men and women when they leave the forces.  (See editors notes for a case study).

Andy McBride, Group Head of Resourcing at Halfords, said “Our strategy of focusing on services is paying dividends as more and more people turn to us for fitting and repairs. At the same time, the acceleration in the adoption of electric vehicles is creating new opportunities in our garages. The UK faces a skills gap in electric technicians. As a nation we need to be training technicians at twice the current rate. We’re determined to ensure we stay ahead of the game and play our part in helping people transition to electric forms of transport.”

For more information on current opportunities visits Halfords Careers.

Armed Forces case study – Andy Webster, Halfords regional support manager

After an apprenticeship as a mechanic, Andy Webster’s mum, a recruiter at the time, managed to find him a role as a vehicle mechanic for Severn Trent. “It was a retiree place” Andy describes – he was the youngest mechanic by about 25 years.

That wasn’t the environment for him, and after some encouragement from an ex-REME colleague, he found himself on a weekend introduction to the Armed Forces. “Within 2 minutes I was bought in – it just grabbed me straight away.” He signed up and on 31 May 2004 he turned up to ATC Pirbright for basic training. 

Having completed basic training at 22, a relative late-starter for the armed forces, he won best recruit. “It was a very proud moment for me and my family at the passing out parade.”

He went on to have a fantastic career in the Armed Forces. He trained at the Defence School of Electronic and Mechanical Engineering, with military vehicles and armoured vehicles proving to be a step up from the kind of thing he had been working on in his first job. 

After his first deployment and an “eye opening” tour of Iraq, he worked his way up to the rank of Sergeant, working on a number vehicles of all shapes and sizes. “That’s one of the things I loved about the military,” he said. “One day you’re working on a track vehicle, the next day a generator, the next day a Land Rover.” 

He reflects particularly fondly on his time as a basic training instructor. “I absolutely loved it. It’s hard to understand how much the Army values training and leadership, but my 2 years as an instructor opened my eyes massively to how to get the best out of people.”

After the birth of his first child, and 12 years in the armed forces, he decided to leave. 

As part of his resettlement, he had some coaching from recruitment consultants to help point him in the direction of relevant roles in the area, and a job as a Halfords Autocentre Manager came up.

“Because I’d been a mechanic in the army, I wanted to go back to that. As a Sergeant, I was running a section of 12 guys looking after sixty vehicles. I said in my interview for Halfords, I’m basically doing the job your centre managers are doing, the only difference is everything is green!”

The military had also proved a great place to hone his customer service skills, which helped secure him the new job. “If people think they’ve seen unhappy customers, they’ve seen nothing on a Sergeant Major coming and screaming asking why his vehicle isn’t fixed!”

In his view, the most challenging part of looking for a career after the military is knowing what your options are. 

“In the military, they will support you 110%. The best thing I can say about Halfords is they have the same attitude – since my first day I have never felt in a position where I didn’t have support if I needed. Other than the colour of my uniform, it was a very easy fit”

Andy, 39, has seen his career success continue at Halfords, and having been centre manager at a few locations, he was recently promoted to the role Regional Support Manager for the Birmingham and West Midlands area of Halfords Autocentres. 

On what’s on the horizon, he’s optimistic. “With the support I’ve got at Halfords, the five year plan is Regional General Manager. Wherever I can go from there is up to Halfords, as long as they keep saying yes I’ll keep knocking on the door!”