IMI President applauded for his valuable industry contribution and drive to build an inclusive sector
Professor Jim Saker FIMI has been presented with the prestigious Sue Brownson Award at this year’s Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) Annual Dinner.
His inspirational career and achievements have benefitted generations of automotive students, trainees and professionals. His commitment to amplifying the voices of the under-represented and drive change has also galvanised the automotive sector to act, most recently through his leadership of the IMI Diversity Task Force.
After founding the MIRA Business Unit at Loughborough University in 1989, Jim Saker went on to launch the world’s first BSc and MSc programmes in Retail Automotive Management in conjunction with the Ford Motor Company in 1997. Shortly afterwards, Jim partnered with Ford’s Dave Cussell to deliver a proposal for a £7 million investment to build the Henry Ford College on the Campus of the University, opened by Gordon Brown in 2001. The collaboration was a success with courses delivered at the college gaining an international reputation and today being delivered to delegates from across the globe.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Jim sat on the Government’s Automotive Industry Growth Team and the Management and Leadership Panel throughout the 2000s, advising ministers on industry and educational issues. During this decade he was also awarded an IMI Commendation for his work on ATA, the Sector Skills Council strategy and the Professional Register, and in 2020 he became President of the IMI.
Since his appointment as President of the IMI, Jim Saker spearheaded the professional body’s focus on equity, diversity and inclusion through the increasingly influential IMI Diversity Task Force. By joining forces, IMI members and industry peers have collectively stimulated debate and driven changes in EDI practices across the sector. Resulting initiatives include the launch of the IMI’s EDI Qualifications, the creation of the Automotive Diversity Network and the IMI’s partnership with the National Careers Week Foundation.
“It is truly an honour to receive this award,” said Professor Jim Saker of his win. “I have committed much of my career to supporting the industry, the important work it does and the fantastic people who do that work because I feel so passionately about it. This passion has not waned over the years and, although the industry has changed significantly, particularly in the past five years, its current challenges are creating extremely exciting opportunities for everyone.
“It has been my absolute privilege to work with a brilliant group of people, led by Lesley Woolley, on the IMI’s Diversity Task Force. Together they have achieved so much already and I have learnt a remarkable amount from them as we’ve moved forward together. Whilst in truth the journey is only just beginning in terms of building a rich and diverse workforce, I genuinely look forward to continuing to play a part in the future success of the IMI Diversity Task Force and that of the automotive sector.”
Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI added: “Professor Jim Saker has dedicated his career to driving forward the automotive industry with quality teaching resources, placing skills at the forefront of good practice in the automotive retail sector. His expertise is highly recognised and valued across the industry, as demonstrated by his published academic works and industry thought leadership, as well as his regular invitations to speak at automotive conferences around the world. He is a true inspiration, and it was a privilege to present him with this well-deserved award.”
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