One of Kent and Sussex's largest motor groups is celebrating the success of utilising the National Apprentice Service to address a skills gap in the industry as part of National Apprenticeship Week, enrolling four more apprentices.
The family owned JCB Group were recently named the top Volkswagen (VW) retailer in the South East following the VW One Business Awards for 2015, which recognises first-class customer care and excellent repair and maintenance facilities, not just volume of sales.
National Apprenticeship Week (9-13 March 2015) celebrates the positive impact apprenticeships have on individuals and businesses and recognises the skills and talent of apprentices to employers and the public.
The JCB Group, which is also Volkswagen UK’s largest Commercial Vehicles retailer, deem apprenticeships as an important part of its business.
The company’s apprenticeship programme, more affectionately known as The JCB Academy, was developed last year in conjunction with the Learning Skills Partnership. The aim of the programme is to tackle a growing misconception surrounding the lack of diversity of roles on offer in the industry, improve the Group’s resource pipeline and develop future talent.
Anna-Lisa DeVoil, Group HR Manager The JCB Group, said: "The automotive industry needs to find great people to cope with its expansion and market demand, so the apprenticeship scheme works really well for us and the fact that we’ve entered into our second year of the scheme, shows its strength and potential. Our first year has been hugely successful and we’re really proud of what our current apprentices have achieved.
“Unfortunately there is a conception among those outside the industry who don't see the potential, variety or value of careers in the automotive industry. This couldn't be further from the truth.
"Those entering the industry at a relatively junior level can quite easily work their way up the career ladder, because there is room for development and growth. Likewise, there is a huge variety of specialism’s and careers on offer.
“We’ve found our apprentices full of energy and enthusiasm and are always keen to learn. We are dedicated to nurturing and developing young talent and helping to attain the skills and qualifications they need to progress their career. Our scheme enables people to learn hands on, while gaining a qualification, which increases their chances of gaining full-time permanent employment. Who knows, we could find a future managing director!
“From a business development point of view, our apprentices are our very own insiders, who have grown up with technology and intuitively understand our customers’ changing needs. And that brings new skills into JCB Group, which, when mixed with the experience of our longer-serving employees, gives us something special to really drive our customer service ambition.”
Following a recent recruitment drive, the Group has taken on two apprentices at its site in Bailey Drive, Gillingham Business Park. 17 year-old Nicole Rogerson from Gillingham has joined the team as a Parts Apprentice, while 16 year-old Rubina Biring from Gravesend is now beginning a 12 month placement in Sales Administration.
Sheerness teen Daniella Riches, 17, is looking forward to starting her role in Customer Liaison at JCB’s Van Centre in St Michael’s Road, Sittingbourne, while Charlie Hollands from Ashford joins Ashford’s Van Centre, Orbital Park as a Part Apprentice.