Leicester truck dealer Guest Motors is tackling the shortage of young skilled service technicians within commercial vehicles with an ongoing apprentice programme.

The company’s newest recruit, 17-year-old Aaran Colclough from Braunstone, started his training in October and will be following on from 18-year-old Jordan Palmer, also from Leicester, who began a year earlier and was awarded the truck manufacturer Iveco’s ‘apprentice of the year’ title for 2016.

Jordan Palmer hands over first year apprentice responsibilities to Arran Colclough

Jordan Palmer hands over first year apprentice responsibilities to Arran Colclough

Aaran completed a year on a motor vehicle mechanic course at Leicester College before joining Guest Motors, while Jordan has family experience with truck maintenance.

Aaran said: “I was grateful to be able to go straight into training alongside my course and also get paid. My dad is a mechanic and I have grown up with helping him work on trucks, so to follow in his footsteps is a family tradition and something I am proud to do.”

Managing director of Guest Motors Rob Spittle, which operates another 12 servicing locations across the Midlands, East Anglia and Yorkshire, said: “The current cohort of apprentices are doing pretty well. We’re pleased with them.

“We have always employed apprentice technicians. We believe the best way to learn a trade is on the job. There is no substitute for combining formal training with practical, everyday skills, that can be picked up in a busy workshop.

“There are great career opportunities in our industry and as road freight sees no sign of decreasing, it should be a secure choice for the future.

“We would encourage anyone who might be thinking of a hands-on automotive career to think of trucks,” he added.

The government is introducing an apprenticeship levy in April, which is designed to create three million places for apprentices and will be paid for by employers in England with a payroll of more than £3m and charged at a rate of 0.5% of their annual pay bill.

This will affect Guest Motors which will be contributing in excess of £35,000 towards the scheme.

Rob said: “We have yet to see whether the new levy will end up cost neutral to us, or will result in paying more than we already do for our own apprentice programme. But the most important thing is that apprentices are encouraged to come into automotive engineering and that young people take the opportunity to begin rewarding and in the case of our company, long lasting careers.”

Quoted in The Guardian, Robert Halfon, the apprenticeships and skills minister, said the levy would help to ensure “people of all ages and backgrounds have a chance to get on in life”.

Information on apprenticeships can be found on the government website at https://www.gov.uk/apprenticeships-guide/overview

Anyone interested in working for Guest Motors should contact their local branch.

PR by Clive Reeves PR Birmingham