A record number of young accident repair technicians graduated from Thatcham’s Apprentice Academy this week.
Thatcham’s annual Apprentice Graduation has come to represent a significant milestone, both for the young repair technician at the start of a successful career and for the industry set to benefit from this fresh injection of new talent.
This year’s graduation was run over two separate ceremonies to accommodate unprecedented numbers, as a result of Thatcham’s ongoing partnership with Nationwide Accident Repair Services.
Nationwide relaunched its apprenticeship scheme as a new programme in conjunction with Thatcham earlier this year with the aim of increasing support for apprenticeships, focusing technical skills and improving retention during and after their training.
The largest technician apprenticeship scheme in the industry, Thatcham manages all on-site technical, commercial and VA (vehicle assessor) apprentice training on Nationwide’s behalf and is involved throughout, from the recruitment process through to graduation.
Alongside the 50 Nationwide graduates, another 37 apprentices from the three accident repair disciplines of panel, paint and MET (mechanical, electrical and trim) and representing repair businesses from all over the UK, were joined by employers, friends, family and senior members of the accident repair industry as they celebrated this important career milestone.
During both ceremonies, which were hosted by Thatcham’s Commercial Director, Lesley Upham, outstanding apprentices were additionally honoured for what Upham described as “their particular tenacity in achieving an apprenticeship, often against challenging circumstances.”
Thatcham’s ‘Outstanding Achievers’ were named as Alex Dark of UK Assistance ARC, Ross Fryer of Apollo Motor Company (Basingstoke) and Grant Pearce of Wiltshire ARC, whilst Nationwide’s Apprentice of the Year was Dan Coles, recognised particularly for achieving a runners up placement in the extremely competitive WorldSkills International Apprentice Challenge.