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Why it’s time to futureproof your talent

Getting the right talent for your business to succeed is not just about recruiting. As Vauxhall Motors Ltd knows you need to play the long game if you want to get ahead…

Talent management is something that most businesses will have heard of. Many have even developed activities and initiatives to support it. But all too often these activities focus on fulfilling immediate needs rather than addressing long term aspirations. Just as your organisation would look to the future to identify and plan for any opportunities or risks, exploring how your people and their talents fit into the future of your business, is essential.

By thinking about your people and the type of talent you will need in the months and years to come, you are planning for future success – and building real time engagement along the way.


One business that has really taken this on board is IIP Gold accredited automotive manufacturer Vauxhall Motors Ltd. In a constantly evolving industry, where innovation is coveted and the highest skills are needed to support it, Vauxhall has taken the discovery of talent and where to find it very seriously and as a result have attracted new people and become an employer of choice.

From graduate schemes and apprenticeships to developing the talents of existing team members across the organisation, Vauxhall looks at how people can bring value to the business over the long term and how their people can benefit individually too.


HR Director Phil Millward is a prime example. Phil started as an apprentice at Vauxhall over 45 years ago. Through the years he has been continually encouraged to develop and progress and now heads up a team of over 3800 people, as well as sitting on senior boards overseeing the household brand name.

“I’ve just completed my 45th year of service with the company, a career that has allowed me to move from an apprentice to a Director of a highly successful organisation,” Phil explains. “Throughout this period I’ve been fortunate enough to undertake many different technical, managerial and leadership responsibilities across multiple functions. This has allowed me to fill a valued treasure-chest with rich experiences; working with employees, customers, Trade Unions and key business stakeholders and channelling it all into making a difference for the company.” 

Having experienced the benefit of long-term support and development himself, Phil is clear on Vauxhall’s approach to talent management. “Our goal is to find, grow and keep the worlds’ best talent, as we strive to build the most valued automotive business in the UK,” he continues. “We find ourselves in a rewarding position where the majority of our employees view us as their workplace of choice, creating an environment that new employees are equally as keen to experience and benefit from.”


Employees like Zoe Peacock. A Press and Heritage Fleet Administrator at Vauxhall, Zoe started as an apprentice in 2011 and has since had the opportunity to undertake three different job roles, in different areas of the business. “Being in these job roles has developed my confidence, communication, organisation and a number of other transferable skills,” Zoe says. “The real work experience that Vauxhall offer apprentices is second to none and sets you up for life in a high pace working world.”

Vauxhall adopts numerous methods to ensure employees are continuously developing.  They’ve rolled out dedicated leadership development, management development and vision and values training courses over the last three years in order to build authentic, genuine and proactive leaders.

The company also provides mentoring for apprentices, interns and graduates early in their careers as well as supervisors who are new to their management roles.  In addition to their ‘on-the-job’ experiences, initiatives are also in place for apprentices and interns to strengthen skills outside of their core activities, such as teamwork and social and communication skills.


Like any people-focused organisation, Vauxhall understands the value of development beyond core roles in order to engender loyalty, trust and engagement in its team. The company encourages employees to participate in committees and forums outside of work, such as associations with school governing bodies or skillsharing with other organisations.  Vauxhall also provides support to develop employees with a tuition refund programme, professional subscriptions and attendance at industry conferences or seminars in order to maintain current industry business knowledge.

“Investing in the development of our employees is investing in our future as a business,” concludes Phil Millward. “We’re demonstrating how much we value our people by supporting them to reach their full potential, in turn creating a more committed, loyal and empowered workforce. This ultimately leads to greater productivity, innovation and growth. It’s about laying the firm foundations today for Vauxhall’s continued success tomorrow.”


Take this further:

Inspired by Vauxhall’s story? Check out its video case study to find out more about how high performing organisations like Vauxhall engage with their people and nurture talent, irrespective of technical area, work entry, age or experience.

Vauxhall is a Gold accredited IIP organisation. Find out more about IIP accreditation and what it can do for your business and your people.