Volkswagen backs modern apprenticeships

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has joined forces with Bristol-based S&B
Training Ltd to set up its own light commercial vehicle apprenticeship
programme. Twelve apprentices, employed within Volkswagen’s 90-strong national
van centre network, are on board.

Regional Service Manager Simon Bourne said: "We wanted to bring school
leavers into the business and train them in the Volkswagen way of doing things
and on Volkswagen products. There was a Volkswagen Group apprenticeship
programme which was administered by different people but we wanted a dedicated
commercial vehicles scheme."

The company selected S&B Training as a recognised training provider
following recommendations from the network. "S&B Training administers
a heavy goods vehicle programme and has a lot of experience with commercial
vehicles. It is a relatively small company which likes to deal with smaller
numbers of apprentices and teaches them as if they were part of the family.
There’s no third-party involvement. S&B Training is doing everything for us
– it’s a personal service," said Bourne.

Trainers maintain contact with apprentices throughout the year and visit
them in the van centres in between blocks of off-the-job training at Bristol’s
Isambard Kingdom College. The provider also arranges accommodation during
apprentices’ block-release periods when they stay with local families to
provide a supportive environment conducive to learning. Apprentices who
complete the tailor-made programme will gain NVQ Level 3 and a BTEC National
Certificate for Light Commercial Vehicle Technicians and receive a Light
Vehicle Modern Apprenticeship certificate.

"The apprentices are loving it and full of enthusiasm," Bourne
said. "We’re very pleased with the way it’s going and we’d like to recruit
another 12 to 18 this year. If we can maintain a steady flow of apprentices,
the progression is there as the years go by and as they become qualified we’ve
got a ready-made supply of Volkswagen-trained technicians."

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