Apprentice Name: Albert Newell
Employer: Mill Garage, Frizington
Course Undertaking: Motor Vehicle (Level 2)
Apprentice’s background and circumstances
Apprentice – After I left Southfield School in 2010, I wanted to pursue my ambition of becoming a motor vehicle mechanic which I have been interested in ever since I can remember. Within a couple of months I began to get some experience working in a garage at Distington. Although this was unpaid it was a useful experience nonetheless. It was here I began to gain some of the knowledge required to work in a garage environment. Following this, I then had a work trial at HiQ Tyres but decided I didn’t want to pursue this as the job was too limited (mainly fitting tyres) and I wanted a job where I could develop a broader range of skills.
It wasn’t long after my trial at HiQ Tyres that I became aware of the Copeland Apprenticeship scheme. I applied to the scheme in Round 2 and had an interview with St Thomas Cross Hydraulics who are based in Egremont, but unfortunately I wasn’t selected. Not to be beaten, I applied again in Round 3 and was successful in securing a place with Mill Garage in Frizington, starting in November 2011.
What progress have you made and what are you hoping to achieve?
Apprentice –I have now completed an apprenticeship in Motor Vehicle (Level 2) in what was a quicker time than anticipated. My next aim is to achieve level 3. During my apprenticeship I learnt all the basic skills linked to motor vehicle maintenance such as servicing, brakes and suspensions. I now have the confidence, skills and knowledge to take on some of the more challenging jobs that come into the garage including cylinder heads, clutches and turbochargers. A few months ago I wouldn’t have had the confidence to tackle the bigger jobs but I will now have a go at anything no matter how difficult. This also applies to life away from work.
As part of the apprenticeship I am more aware of Health & Safety in the motor vehicle repair industry in particular COSHH (the law that requires employers to control substances that are hazardous to health), Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and ensuring my work area is tidy at all times.
Employer – Since staring the apprenticeship Albert has really blossomed in everything he is doing and seems to be thriving on the experience. I feel he is in the right setting and benefitting from having experienced mechanics around him. He gets on really well with everybody and is a much valued part of the team. I have noticed he is much more talkative and more confident in his own abilities. His body posture is more upright and he has a more varied vocabulary, whereas before it was limited – it’s all positive stuff. He has developed into a capable mechanic and has gained lots of experience in things like servicing and replacing brakes. He is now turning his hand to the computer testing systems we use at the garage such as the diagnostic equipment and MOT systems. I am looking to offer a job in the near future. In a nutshell, Albert is quite simply “amazing”!
Has there been any barriers / obstacles in place which you had to overcome?
Apprentice – I had transport issues when I first started the apprenticeship as I didn’t have a car and I couldn’t drive – this made the journey from Pica (where I live) to Frizington quite difficult. I overcame this after finding out about the Wheels2Work scheme run by Inspira (formerly Connexions). Through the scheme I was able to access a scooter to help me travel to work. I used the scooter until I passed my driving test and now drive to work in my own car.
How has the apprenticeship affected your life? What has been the best thing about the apprenticeship to date?
Apprentice – The most important thing for me is that I now have a job and a trade. I know I am a more confident person and through this opportunity I have been able to meet new people both at work and socially. Through having a regular income I am able to go out more with my friends more, something I struggled to do previously. Being voted Apprentice of the year at the Lakes College Awards Evening 2012 was something I am very proud of.