“As members of society, we must be sensitive to the needs of the communities in which we do business”. This is Honda’s official company philosophy and it’s one we put into practice on the ground.
As a UK employer, we believe it fundamental to support the next generation by linking business with skills and education. We do so by promoting ‘life skills’ and technical expertise to 16–22 year olds, via a variety of programmes.
In collaboration with Young Enterprise we give A-level pupils the opportunity to take part in a competition in which they must create and run a company. With Honda’s support as a weekly mentor, students are expected to register a company, create a management structure, raise capital, submit a business plan, create a product or service, commit to selling it at 3–4 events, and finally submit a company report with their learnings and final financial statement.
It provides pupils with an understanding of the business environment, and also equips them with important softer ‘life’ skills such as working as a team, improving communication and presentation skills, structuring meetings, organising events and having responsibilities. The students tell us it is a “life-time experience” which has provided them with “a chance to shine in a different light.” Most of them now know that “everything is possible”.
As well as promoting these important life-skills, we promote technical expertise through, for example, Honda’s very successful apprenticeship programme. As a recruitment and training programme for its dealerships, Honda has recruited over 1,100 apprentices over 10 years. For three years, apprentices are employed by their local Honda dealership and attend block training at the Honda Institute. Honda also has an established apprenticeship programme at its UK manufacturing site.
What makes Honda’s programme unique is the ‘Honda Challenge’, the Personal Development Curriculum. It covers different subjects to help apprentices widen their skills to succeed in their future career and personal life. Health and Wellbeing, Employee Rights and Responsibilities, Finance Awareness and Citizenship and Community Involvement are some of those topics.
Honda strives to support the next generation in their careers. Business has a fundamental role to play in addressing global challenges, and education, skills and related unemployment are some of these. Indirectly, Honda is looking to create jobs in the UK which in turn can contribute to improving the country’s economy.
Ian is a Senior Vice President for Honda Motor Europe (March 2013). Honda Motor Europe is the regional holding company for Honda’s Bikes, Cars and Power Equipment business in Europe and manages and coordinates Honda’s activities in the region including sales, manufacturing and finance. As a member of Honda’s regional operating board, Ian is part of a small team setting policy and strategy for European operations. He has specific responsibilities for information technology, finance & accounting and human resources.