Harratts apprentice claims top Honda UK award

Harratts apprentice claims top Honda UK award

20/02/2012 in News, All News

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Harratts apprentice claims top Honda UK award

An apprentice at Harratts has been crowned the UK’s top apprentice across the entire Honda UK workforce.

Jonathan Wolfenden, who is based at the Harratts Honda Wakefield, gained the accolade at the manufacturer’s apprenticeship awards and graduation held last week.

Wolfenden beat off stiff competition from the other 180 Honda UK apprentices, scooping the award which was judged by a panel from Honda’s apprenticeship Team.

The accolade follows rigorous assessments at in Wakefield and also during Wolfenden’s attendance at the manufacturer’s training days at the Honda Institute in Colnbrook.

The company, which boasts 12 dealerships across Yorkshire, is -known for its commitment to investing in staff and this latest award follows Harratts Volvo apprentices winning the top accolade in 2010.

Gareth Bottomley, dealer principal of Harratts Honda Wakefield, said: "We are thrilled to have trained the best Honda apprentice in the UK and Jonathan is a worthy recipient of this award.

"His dedication and skill is a real asset for us as a business and he is a fantastic role model for those wishing to set out on a career in the automotive sector. I am justifiably very proud of him."

Jonathan Wolfenden, apprentice at Harratts Honda Wakefield, said: "To be awarded Honda’s Apprentice of the Year is fantastic news and it’s still sinking in.

"I’d like to thank Harratts for providing a fantastic place to work and for my mentors who have, and continue to, invest so much in me."

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Harratts Group

The Harratts Group is a family-owned and run business with 13 dealerships across Yorkshire, with the franchises for Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot, Renault and Volvo, plus its most recent venture, Part Exchange Direct and its Car Clinic. It sells used cars and to fleets.

2011 turnover was £170 million (2010: £181m), profit before tax was £161,000 (2011: £1.4m).

The Harratt family started the company in 1966 in Ossett, acquiring land and businesses and building showrooms as it took on franchises, beginning with Volvo.

Its most recent additions are Honda in 2009, which was placed alongside Volvo at its Barnsley Road site in Wakefield, and Peugeot in 2010 in Leeds.

Discussions are taking place to add the Kia franchise. MD Shaun Harratt wants to expand with Honda also.

The business is also changing dealer management system from Kalamazoo Elite to Pinewood’s Pinnacle.

£3m has been spent on a new showroom and headquarters at Calder Park, Wakefield, the largest construction project in the group’s history.

Recently all senior staff have been put through a self-development programme and customer-facing staff and all involved in sales have been through a customer service training programme.

The group has spent £200,000, including government grants, on training since 2009.

In March 2013 Andrew Venn was appointed head of operations. The former Pendragon franchise director has 25 years industry experience. His role was put as evolving the organisation from a "thriving family business to a class leading motor retailer".

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A management reshuffle and refreshed product range, including one of the best diesel engines on the market, are helping Honda target sales growth for 2014.

Future models include a new Civic Tourer while 2015 should herald the return of the NSX supercar to the top of the model line-up, coinciding with a return to Formula 1.

A new brand campaign will also raise awareness by associating the firm with advanced motoring and auto sports.

This activity marks the end of a 18 month to two-year period of relative 'inactivity' - and sales declines for Honda – which it attributes to the Eurozone financial crisis and supply-chain problems caused by the Japanese tsunami.

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