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Carmakers and retailers celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2020

A Ferrari UK apprentice open day at Dick Lovett, Swindon

Car dealers and their manufacturer partners have been highlighting their efforts to recruit the next-generation of automotive sector talent to mark National Apprenticeship Week 2020.

Marshall Motor Holdings celebrated a century of apprenticeship recruitment as Kia Motors UK, Volvo Car UK and Swansway Garages were also among those keen to share the virtues of apprenticeship schemes during the week of national awareness which runs from February 3 to 9.

Marshall enrolled its first cohort of apprentices in 1920 and now has 116 individuals enrolled on its apprenticeship schemes across 119 dealerships throughout the UK, with apprentices accounting for 3% of the AM10 retailer’s entire workforce.

Recently recruited Marshal Motor Holdings HR director, Jo Moxon, said: “We are extremely proud to be celebrating 100 years of apprenticeship programmes at Marshalls.

“Our apprenticeship schemes offer a great way of encouraging enthusiastic people into an exciting and dynamic industry.

“We have welcomed a range of talent onto our programmes and look forward to continue developing the automotive stars of tomorrow.”

Swansway Garages said that it is working hard to promote its apprenticeship opportunities at a time that has seen the cost of going to university continuing to rise and the benefits of being a graduate in the job market diminish.

Director, John Smyth, believes that the training infrastructure in place for automotive apprentices makes the sector a top choice for new apprenticeship recruits.

He said: “Apprentice technicians work in state-of-the-art works shops and go away to manufacturer learning centres for their off the job training. All the facilities are absolutely gold standard and they are as far away from the old grease monkey stereotype as it’s possible to be.

“Today’s vehicles are packed with technology and that means today’s technicians need a very wide variety of skills; secondly, we now have apprentices across our businesses, in many different roles and they bring an enthusiasm and diversity to our business which is really beneficial.”

Swansway currently has almost 75 apprentices across its operations, from the more traditional technician apprenticeships to the new digital marketing apprenticeships and the business has apprentices within every one of its departments; sales, aftersales. parts, customer service, administration, accounts and marketing.

Head of recruitment and apprenticeships, Scott Smith, said: “We look after our apprentices. We have Carley Farrington, who spends all her time visiting our apprentices across the group and ensuring that they’re happy, learning what they should be and feeling part of the team they’re in.

“It’s important to us to make our apprentices feel valued and part of our Swansway family team. That’s why we’ve sent them all a surprise present to celebrate National Apprenticeships week and to thank them for all their hard work.”

While Volvo Car UK pre-empted National Apprenticeship 2020 with the announcement that it plans to recruit 130 young starters into apprenticeship roles this year and Ferrari UK announced a series of open days to lure apprenticeship hopefuls to its retail sites, Korean brand Kia Motors UK this week highlighted its apprenticeship scheme by profiling some of their brightest young talent.

With the scheme now in its 16th year, Kia currently has 208 Kia Academy apprentices and 24 open apprentice vacancies across the country. 

Andrew Smith, aftersales Manager at Boongate Kia said: “From a dealer perspective having an organisation with staff benefiting from bespoke manufacturer training is a huge advantage.

“It provides training in great detail and easily enhances apprentice’s knowledge of the Kia product and their skill set for the job role.”

Deakin Petts is a 19-year-old who took advantage of the Kia apprenticeship scheme with a placement at Drayton Motors Boston.

Describing his experiences with the brand, he said: “After finishing college, I was offered an unconditional place for an engineering degree at Lincoln University. I wasn't sold on university as I preferred to be more hands-on.

“I was delighted to secure a Light Vehicle Technician apprenticeship and I am currently one year into my three-year apprenticeship. Also, I’m proud to say I’m doing well in my studies and practical assessments.

“For me starting out as an apprentice at Kia was the best thing I could have done. My family are really proud of me and my mum likes what I do, especially because I’ll be doing work on her car in years to come! I also have a couple of friends in the trade which helps me push myself to understand what they do day to day as well.

“In regards to my future - once I have finished my apprenticeship, I will hopefully move towards the Master Technician and possibly Kia Technical. I have learnt so much already taking part in the Kia apprenticeship scheme and I am really excited to expand my knowledge for electric vehicles (EV).”  

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