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Alex completed his apprenticeship in 2017.
Alex was on the Advanced Apprenticeship in Vehicle Body Repair and won the Outstanding Apprentice in Vehicle Accident and Repair Prize at the Leadership and Higher Technical Skills Awards Evening.
What was the highlight of your apprenticeship?
The highlight of my career so far was painting the Toyota Supra from the Fast and Furious live show tour (see photos below). The car was an exact replica of the car from the first film driven by Paul Walker's character, Brian. I even had to ring up a guy called Junior in California to get the correct painting process as it is a 3-stage pearlescent paint. The car has been all over Europe and is due to go to America soon.
What are the benefits of doing an apprenticeship?
The best part of an apprenticeship is that you get paid as you learn. You also get the best qualifications in your chosen field if you climb up the levels. Also you make great bonds with lecturers and friends with other students.
Tell us about your current job
I currently work with my dad and I do all the paintwork - I'm head of bodywork and refinishing.
What does a typical day at work involve?
On a typical day I'm working on classic cars, usually MG Bs and Cs but I've done everything from Jensens to Jaguars. I do all the body repair and shaping up to applying top coat and polishing.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years I'd like to either be working for a prestigious restoration company or have my own workshop and business restoring cars and doing custom paint work.
Ben is on an Apprenticeship in Light Vehicle Maintenance & Repair and works at Volkswagen in Barnstaple
Apprenticeship in Light Vehicle Maintenance & Repair
North Devon Campus
“I originally trained as a plasterer. However, work dried up during the recession so I started thinking about alternative careers.
I’ve always loved cars and really enjoy the challenge of getting something that’s broken working again. I’ve spent many a cold night on my driveway working on either my cars or my friends’ cars over the years. I relax when I work on cars – it’s my way of destressing.
Volkswagen in Barnstaple were looking for a service washer so I applied; this was my foot in the door. I then became a driver, collecting customers’ cars and bringing them into the garage.
After a while I sat down with my boss and said that I was keen to retrain and progress my career, so he called the college to ask about apprenticeship opportunities. Shortly after I had an interview for the motor vehicle apprenticeship and was offered a place.
An apprenticeship really suits my way of learning. I’m much better doing practical, hands-on work and learning on the job. The majority of assessments are practical assessments in the workplace, along with some multiple choice tests and written tests.
I’m so glad I made the switch from plastering. I find this industry so rewarding, as you’re working on someone’s pride and joy. I’d like to see how far I can get within this company, and hopefully work my way up to master technician one day. Then, perhaps, I’d think about setting up my own garage.”
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