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What Is It Really Like Working On The Apprenticeship Scheme At The JCB Group?

Supported Training and Great Team Work

Meet Adam and Colm who share their stories...

You may be wondering what it's like to start an apprenticeship training to one day be a fully qualified vehicle Technician. A bit scary? Very different to school. Totally unknown territory!

Well, who better to ask than our very own Technicians who have carried out their apprenticeships with The JCB Group. Adam Moralee, Technician at JCB Sittingbourne Volkswagen Van Centre; and Colm Reid, Technician at JCB Renault/Citroën/Dacia/Mercedes-Benz in Rainham have shared their stories with us.

Before we read on, let's tell you a bit of background about The JCB Group.

The JCB Group - a large, family owned dealership group

The JCB Group is now a large and well respected dealership group in the South East of England. Starting from just one Volkswagen car branch in the 1990's, the owner, Jonathan, has built up the group and now has over 20 branches representing 15 manufacturer brands.

Each branch has a sales showroom out front, and a workshop behind the scenes. The workshops are the hub of the business - preparing new vehicles for sales to hand over, checking and preparing used vehicles for sale, servicing customer cars and vans, maintaining and repairing vehicles and carrying out any warranty checks and repairs required by the manufacturer.

Each Technician is fully trained on the brand vehicles he/she works with and has their own ramp and bay for all the tools and specialist equipment they need. Technical software updates and ongoing Technician training are supported by the brand to keep abreast of the developments in automotive technology. It's a fast paced and dynamic industry in which to work.

To find out more about apprentice Technician training, read the interviews with Adam and Colm below:

Adam Moralee removing a Volkswagen Amarok engine in the workshop.

Adam - JCB Group Apprentice Technician

Colm Reid working on a car in the Renault/Citroën/Dacia/ Mercedes Service Centre.

Colm - JCB Group Apprentice Technician

Case Study 1: Adam Moralee

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle Technician who was on the Volkswagen Apprenticeship Scheme

What do you enjoy most about working as an apprentice/technician?

I love the challenge of problem solving. There are always people on hand to help or answer questions to the best of their knowledge. At the end of the training, I have a full time job and am earning a good wage.

What support do you get when you are learning?

Firstly, you have a mentor at work you follow and eventually you start to do your own jobs. Once complete, the mentor checks over your work to make sure all is above standard. Next you get help from your workshop controller who helps to find jobs that will broaden your experience and improve your current knowledge.

Additionally you get online courses that need to be completed before going to the National Learning Centre. The NLC is the next step - you go for a block week and gain information that week to then put in to practice for when you come back to work. For example, basic engines, brakes, suspension and transmissions, etc. You also have a Vocational Learning Assessor, or VLA, who comes down every 8 weeks to assess you and see how you are coping in the work place. I would also recommend getting your own resources to help gain information, even when not at work, such as the Hilliers books series, 'Fundamentals of Motor Vehicle Technology'.

What is the toughest part of the training?

For me it was gaining the confidence of doing a repair or work to be carried out and I was always seeking for approval to make sure I was doing the job in question properly. From coming out of school/ sixth form, all the hard work was done for you, you got told what to do and when to do it, but after leaving I had to gain confidence to make sure I was able to do my job correctly, and without second thought.

What subjects did you study at school/college to enable you to be accepted on the training programme?

To get accepted you need to meet the minimum standard of a 'C' grade in English, Maths, Science, and ICT. But what also helped me was engineering BTEC level 2 and 3. This helps give you mechanical knowledge and understanding of how things are made and work, i.e engines, gearboxes and why they are made of that type of material.

I also found that having lots of after-school activities helped. For one, it helps being physically fit and mentally alert from playing rugby etc. Helping to run after-school clubs shows confidence, willingness and dedication. Another would be the hobbies you're interested in. For me, I worked on vehicles in my spare time after school with my father, to get me interested and help me for when I started the programme.

Are there exams and assessments?

Yes, there are. When I started, I did a block week in Milton Keynes, at the training centre, and on the Friday before leaving, we did an online multiple choice exam in exam conditions. If you have any learning difficulties then they can provide extra time and assistance. In between block weeks I had assessments. I had to do these for the next time in Milton Keynes. Subjects would be regarding any information from the prior week or any info you have ready for the next week’s progress.

How does it feel when you graduate to technician from apprentice?

It was amazing to have the knowledge and experience to carry out any work that was thrown my way! My confidence grew, and I have gained lots of respect for the technicians and managers within the business. Now I can laugh at myself with the silly questions I asked and have done in the workshop! Every now and then I go to Milton Keynes for additional training to work my way up the ladder so to speak and gain even more knowledge. Knowledge is power! I will always stay at a main dealer because they will be more advanced in technology and how to work on their vehicles compared to anywhere else. Being in the VAG (Volkswagen Automotive) group you’re more likely to be accepted anywhere else - as I think VAG is the hardest and most demanding compared to any other brand.

Whats good about working for the JCB group?

You can progress through your dealership from apprentice to service technician, to diagnostic technician and eventually to master technician.

Every six months we get a PDR (personal development review) to assess how we feel and what's working well, or not, and if I were to feel I’m working in the wrong department then the management team can help find an opening and give you more training to progress and meet the standard required.

Watch the video below to hear about Colm Reid's real life experience of training to be a vehicle Technician:

Case Study 2: Colm Reid

Car & Van Technician who now works on Renault and Dacia cars and Citroën and Mercedes-Benz vans

What do you enjoy most about working as an apprentice/technician?

​I have always enjoyed how cars and engines operate; and learning from others.

What support do you get when you are learning?

I learned from block training at the academy, including classroom and practical training.  I also learned on site from other technicians and I have been mentored by our consultant technician.

What is the toughest part of the training?

The toughest part has been revising and preparing for the exams!

What subjects did you study at school/college to enable you to be accepted on the training programme?

I had to have English, Maths and ICT at grade 'C' or above.​

Are there exams and assessments?

I had to complete exams and assessments at the end of each year.

How does it feel when you graduate to technician from apprentice?

I felt proud of myself for qualifying and it shows that all my hard work was worth it.  I now look forward to developing my career further within the group.

Whats good about working for the JCB group?

The environment we work in is positive and my team members are supportive of my training needs.  They have all helped me to gain experience to be able to develop myself.

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