A local trainee technician participating in the largest automotive aftermarket apprentice programme in the UK has impressed the judges in an annual Apprentice of the Year challenge.
Aaron Hunter (17) from Swindon was taking part in the annual competition held by Halfords Autocentres and was praised as a prime example of the quality of young talent joining the automotive repair and maintenance industry after coming top of his second year group.
The former Nova Hreod pupil was one of only a dozen young apprentices selected to take part from across the UK following a nomination by the manager of the Halfords Autocentre in Swindon where he works.
Halfords Autocentres Operations Director Simon Benson said: “Aaron still has a year of study left to complete his NVQ but given the calibre of apprentices talking part put in a brilliant performance to win the second year group.
“Our apprentice competition pits man against machine and challenges participants to identify a series of vehicle faults using skill and the latest diagnostic equipment.”
The pace of technological change within the automotive industry means that the training Halfords Autocentres apprentices receive and the challenges set during the competition evolve annually in order to maintain the business’ award winning standards.
Following a day full of challenges – ranging from safety inspections to problem solving and reporting – judges presented him with his trophy and £350 prize. Elijah has also now been entered into the World Skills competition taking place next year.
On receiving his prize Aaron commented: “Winning feels amazing and I hope to be back next year. I wasn’t sure what challenges were going to be thrown at us but the training we are given prepares you for almost anything.”
Simon Benson added: “Our apprenticeship programme offers transferable skills, recognised qualifications and importantly a high success rate for future full time employment.
“Over 700 young technicians have graduated from the programme in the twenty years since it was established and we are very proud of the fact that all apprentices graduating have gone on to be offered employment – with many rising through the ranks to become senior technicians or managers.”
The apprentice scheme provides a structured three-year vocational training programme and sees successful participants graduate with an NVQ Level Three in Light Vehicle Technology as well as a technical certificate from the Institute of the Motor Industry.
Halfords Autocentres currently employs around 200 apprentices, representing around 10% of its technician workforce, and takes on an additional 70 promising youngsters each year to replace those graduating.
For more information about the apprenticeship scheme or to apply visit: http://www.halfordsautocentres.com/careers/vacancies/apprentice/