B&FC attends AutoRaise and The Vella Group events to offer valuable apprenticeship opportunities

Published on 08/08/2018 by pfi

Automotive specialists from Blackpool and The Fylde College (B&FC) have attended three AutoRaise showcase events at The Vella Group sites across the North West.

The events were aimed at raising awareness about AutoRaise – an organisation set up to address skills shortages in the auto repair industry - and its new Multi-skilled Apprenticeship Standard which B&FC is currently delivering for one of the UK’s largest independent automotive repair groups, The Vella Group.

The promotional events, held at The Vella Group’s Workington, Preston and Chester sites, were also attended by local young people, repairers and industry suppliers. The combined events identified eight potential new candidates sign up for the apprenticeship.
B&FC has partnered with The Vella Group, to initially deliver 10 new apprenticeships. The group are committed to ongoing investment in young people, creating new apprenticeship roles and giving their existing team members an opportunity to become an integral part of the company’s development by becoming part of an Apprentice Mentoring programme.

Helen Driscoll, HR Manager at The Vella Group said: 

“The showcase events were a resounding success. The support from AutoRaise and B&FC, along with the industry partners, meant that the events went even better than we hoped. Despite us holding them the week after the local schools finished, and with quite short notice, AutoRaise and B&FC worked really hard to ensure that where was plenty of positive interest on the nights.
“Most of our staff and their families also attended the open evenings, even those from sites that weren’t hosting. It was great for them to see that as a business and as an industry, there is a passion to ensure that we invest in the future. Our current staff will be those teaching the next generation, so for them to be so enthusiastic about it was really pleasing.

“We would like to say a special thank you to those who came along to support us at the events, with people traveling hundreds of miles to back the showcase evenings. We were thrilled fellow local repairers also gave up their time to come along to find out about the apprentice schemes.

“It just shows what a great industry we are in. With an aging work force and years of under-investment due to financial pressures, repairers are at a crossroads. If every repairer was to invest in apprentices, imagine how different things could be in just a few years. Then imagine where we will be if we don’t.”

B&FC’s partnership with The Vella Group will fill the first ever class of AutoRaise Multi-skilled Apprentices at the College, with subsequent cohorts from other employers in the region.

Claire Jameson, Director of Business Development at B&FC for Business, said:

“I’m delighted with the number of repairers and potential apprentices who engaged with these events and can only envisage even more interest in the future.

“Our automotive team has a huge amount of experience working in different roles throughout the sector and understand the skills required by people entering the industry, or for those who wish to further progress their careers.

“We work with a number of industries which see the value in partnering with a high calibre skills provider to take their business forward. This partnership with AutoRaise and The Vella Group is really leading the way in providing highly-capable and engaged repairers who make valuable employees and can take the industry forward.”

As well as recruiting potential apprentices, the events saw a number of other companies within the industry attending. AutoRaise Platinum Partners UPOL, S & G Response, R-M, Devilbiss and Audatex had stands alongside The Vella Group supplier partners Stanners, Pro-align, PPG and LKQ Coatings. These allowed visiting young people to learn more about the products and processes involved in repairing vehicles.

AutoRaise CEO Bob Linwood said:

“We have proved once again that when we bring young people into a modern repair facility and showcase our industry as an interesting and sustainable career destination, we will get interest.

“The Vella Group were looking to take on two apprentices at each of their sites and now they have a fantastic problem; at least three of the young visitors at each event have already shown an active desire in wanting to take the offered positions.

“Our showcase model absolutely works and when working in tandem with a proactive employer and a great college, great things can happen.

“I was especially pleased that a number of other repairers in the region came along too and the College had an opportunity to talk to them about helping them find apprentices.

“I would have loved to see even more but no matter which way you look at it, these events were a fantastic success on so many different levels.”

For more information on automotive apprenticeships at B&FC, please click here.