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Business & Economy

Car repair firm’s apprenticeship scheme hits the road

A vehicle servicing and repair firm has teamed up with Gateshead College to launch an apprenticeship programme in the North East.

Halfords Autocentres is rolling out a national apprenticeship programme with eight colleges around the country to train the next generation of motor vehicle service and maintenance technicians and has chosen Gateshead College to deliver the training in the North East.

The two-year apprenticeship – recognised by the Institute of the Motor Industry – will allow students to progress onto a level 3 qualification that equips them with a varied range of skills and knowledge of vehicle maintenance and diagnostics, customer service and hybrid technology.

Around 70 apprentices have enrolled onto the scheme, including eight in the North East where Gateshead College is delivering the training. Students will spend one day per week at the college’s Skills Academy for Automotive, Engineering, Manufacturing and Logistics and four days per week on the job at HalfordsAutocentres around the region, where they will work with experienced mentors and be supported by the college’s work-based learning team.

Dave Nichols, Halfords’ apprenticeship and trainee relationship advisor, said: “I started my career as apprentice and have worked my way up at Halfords Autocentres, so I can personally say that our apprenticeship programmes work. For this new programme, we’ll be training our apprentices to an industry-defined standard, ensuring we get the skills we need to make our business even more successful.

“Gateshead College was the ideal choice to deliver the training in the North East of England. Their outstanding Ofsted rating, excellent facilities and ability to understand the needs of our business all stood out when we were choosing someone to partner with.”

By upskilling its workforce, Halfords Autocentres aims to cement its position as one of the country’s premier MOT, car service, brakes, repairs and tyre specialists.In recent years the company has expanded rapidly and now has more than 300 autocentres across the UK.

Gateshead College has more than six decades’ experience of delivering high-quality apprenticeship programmes with large companies and SMEs. The college is leading the way in education and skills by providing industry with the skilled workforces it needs now and in the future.

Ivan Jepson, director of business development at Gateshead College, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with Halfords Autocentres on the roll-out of their national programme. It provides a fantastic opportunity for young people in our region to gain new skills and start their careers with a leading organisation that really value apprenticeships.”

Aaron Ditchburn recently started his apprenticeship at Halfords’ Gateshead autocentre.

He said: “This is a brilliant opportunity for me to start my career as a motor vehicle technician. I’m not only working towards a qualification but I’m also gaining valuable on the job training with Halfords.”