The first cohort of BT Fleet Solutions motor vehicle apprentices at Warwick Trident College have successfully finished the company’s inaugural apprenticeship programme after three and a half years of study to create the next generation of technicians.
The twelve apprentices, who each gained an Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) Level 3 Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair qualification, picked up their certificates at a special event at Warwick Trident on Thursday 17 January. The dozen are based at BT Fleet Solutions depots up and down the country and had travelled to study at Warwick Trident College on a block release basis.
BT Fleet Solutions has responsibility for the operation of BT’s own fleet – the second largest in the UK at 33,000 vehicles – while providing fleet management services to a further 90,000 cars, vans and trucks for household names including the AA, National Grid and Environment Agency. Services are provided through a 65-strong, UK-wide garage network, with more than 500 partner garages and more than 50 mobile technicians.
Henry Brace, Managing Director, Fleet Solutions, said: “I really enjoyed attending the apprentice graduation event at Warwick Trident College to recognise the year group becoming fully qualified technicians. It is enormously encouraging to see that several of them have already assumed leadership roles in the business and this is testament to the capability of them as individuals and the quality of the course.
“It has been a pleasure to work with WCG who have supported our apprentices throughout their learning journey. I am sure our qualifying apprentices will be missed but that our 90 apprentices in the two years below will keep their staff busy!”
The apprentices were given their certificates by Mark Eden, Director of Work Based Learning at WCG and two individuals were given special awards in recognition of their exceptional efforts.
Will Lester aged 25 was awarded the title of Apprentice of the Year as voted for by staff at the college. During his time at Warwick Trident, Will had exceptional test and assessment results, and was always highly committed to the programme. The vehicle technician from Sheffield said: “It was a complete surprise to win this award, it’s great to know that my efforts have been recognised.”
Will dropped out of studying science and maths at A-level when he realised that going to university was not for him. He spent over two years working in his local newsagents before his mum suggested doing a motor vehicle apprenticeship. Will owns several motorbikes and had enjoyed maintaining them since a teenager. He now hopes to progress through the organisation to a management position. For anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship Will says: “Do it! University is not the only option.”
Mitchell Sewell, from Glenfield in Leicestershire was awarded Most Improved Apprentice of the Year. Mitchell, who works at the Magna Park depot in Lutterworth was delighted to win the award. The twenty three year old said: “I wasn’t expecting this at all so I am really pleased.”
Although he always had excellent practical skills, Mitchell allowed a new relationship to distract him from his studies earlier on in the programme. There was a real risk of not completing his apprenticeship but with support from staff at Warwick Trident and his colleagues, Mitchell became very focussed and applied himself at college and work. So much so that he is now the night shift technician in charge at the depot.
Of his apprenticeship training at BT Fleet Solutions and Warwick Trident, he said: “ To be paid whilst training in an industry I love whilst learning amazing skills along the way has been brilliant. Staff at Trident have given excellent support throughout and the teaching has been great. The lecturers have been very knowledgeable - there wasn’t a question they couldn’t answer.”
Geoff Allison, Garage and Mobile Services Director, Fleet Solutions, told the graduates that they were the future leaders of the business if they had the ambition. He said: “It was fantastic to see our apprentices celebrated for their efforts. It is clear that the apprentice programme has boosted both productivity and morale across our garage network, helping us to reflect our diverse customer base and improve technical skills. Congratulations and I look forward to seeing you all continue to progress.”
Mark Eden said: “We are proud to be the provider of choice for BT Fleet solutions and to see the difference the apprenticeship programme is making to the business. This first cohort have developed into highly valued members of the team within their respective depots.”
“It gives a great deal of satisfaction to the team at WCG who have worked with these apprentices throughout their journey, to see them achieve their goals and become successful in their chosen career path.”
“We have a joint approach with BT Fleet Solutions to develop new talent for the future of the industry and promote the positive impact an apprentice programme can have on a business if it is managed and supported correctly.”
WCG is one of the largest apprenticeship training providers in the West Midlands, with over 2000 apprentices in over 1000 different employers across a diverse range of industries and sectors. For more information about motor vehicle apprenticeship opportunities at WCG go to www.wcg.ac.uk/mvapprenticeships or call 0300 456 0046.