Cash prize and work experience for future motor industry star

A new award, aimed at finding the brightest talent to lead tomorrow’s motor industry, has been launched by Autocar, the UK’s leading motoring weekly, in partnership with Courland, the global automotive executive search company.

Known as the Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award, the award is open to final-year university students interested in an automotive industry career.  The winner will receive a cash prize of £6000 and four weeks’ work experience with each of the partner organisations that will be involved in the judging process: Ford, Harley-Davidson, Honda and Marshall Motor Group and also supported by the SMMT.

The award aims to create a shortlist of six finalists, from whom a winner will be chosen and announced at this year’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders annual dinner on 24 November 2009. Full details of the competition, which requires entrants to submit an initial 600-word summary spelling out their original ideas for the automotive industry’s future development, can be found at www.autocar.co.uk/next-generation.

‘We’re excited by this chance to help find the industry’s leaders of tomorrow.’ said Steve Cropley, Autocar editor-in-chief. ‘All businesses face unprecedented problems and they are going to need new and imaginative solutions.  We believe this award can discover industry stars capable of facing up to the challenges of tomorrow. Besides, life is extremely hard for today’s graduates. This is our way of helping the best of them’.

The six shortlisted entrants will be invited to spend a day with senior personnel from each of the businesses involved in the Next Generation Award. They will present their ideas in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ atmosphere, which will be filmed. Three of the finalists will be  invited to attend the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ annual dinner attended by 1000 senior industry executives, where the winner will be announced by Cropley.

‘This is the most positive and dynamic programme I have been associated with in 25 years,’ said Lynda Pickess, Managing Partner of Courland Automotive Practice LLP. ‘The future of the motor industry will be defined by the creativity and commitment of the people working in it and we need to attract the cream of the crop to lay the foundations upon which future success will be built. The winner of the Autocar-Courland award will have to show vision and innovation, plus an ability to convince senior executives in a boardroom. It won’t be an easy ride, but the rewards are great.’

Daksh Gupta, Chief Executive Officer – Marshall Motor Group said ‘The landscape of automotive retailing is changing and the future will only be bright for companies that can spot new opportunities while delivering outstanding customer service. The Marshall Motor Group has been been successful for 100 years using exactly those principles. We look to the Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award to provide a catalyst for the next generation.’

Bernard Bradley, General Manager – Cars – Honda UK said, ‘Honda lives at the forefront of new technology. We have been innovators for more than half a century by identifying and investing in brilliant ideas. The Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award is a perfect platform for someone with great ideas and the ability to express to come to our attention.

Joe Greenwell, Chairman – Ford Motor Company Ltd and President – SMMT commented ‘For decades now Ford has been the UK market leader through a combination of innovative design and engineering and clarity of communication. The Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award could provide the right person with a chance to launch his or her career at the most exciting and challenging moment in a generation.

Carol Bosack, European HR Director – Harley-Davidson said ‘Harley-Davidson has an iconic status across the world built on independent thinking that starts in the design studio and transfers to the road. The Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award winner can make a mark on the whole motor industry — and encourage it to feel the wind in its hair.”

Details of how to enter can be found at www.autocar.co.uk/next-generation and all must be received by 1 September 2009.

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