Local MP Jack Lopresti visited Halfords Autocentre in Filton last Friday (17th February) to meet one of their apprentices, Ben Fisher, and learn more about how the company is starting careers for local young people. Ben is undertaking an apprenticeship with the company and Jack discussed the skills that he is learning and the support he is receiving from the company.
Halfords currently employ 180 apprentices across the company, which represents around 10% of its technician workforce, and has taken on another 60 promising youngsters each year to replace those graduating. In the last two years they have increased the number of apprentices by 60%, and expect to take on 25% more this year.
Mr Lopresti said:
“I am delighted with the work that Halfords are doing with Ben. He is thoroughly enjoying working for Halfords, and I know the skills that he is learning will stand him in good stead for the rest of his working life. Halfords are very pleased with the progress he is making, and I am sure their apprenticeship scheme will give him and all others who are on it a career path within the company and beyond.”
Mr Lopresti also met Rachel, who began as an admin assistant with the company and has worked her way up to the position of manager with the aid of a Business Management course at a local college. Before joining Halfords, she worked as a receptionist for another motor company. While she is thoroughly enjoying her current role, Rachel is continuing to progress even further and is looking at the possibility of becoming an Area Manager or an Operations Manager.
Halfords provides a structured three year vocational training programme, with graduates being awarded an NVQ and certification from the Institute of the Motor Industry. Apprentices spend eight weeks a year at a training centre in Shropshire, as well as enjoying on the job training and assessment. Over 1,000 young technicians have graduated from the scheme in the twenty years since it was established, and Halfords are very proud of the fact that all apprentices have gone on to be offered employment, with many rising through the ranks to become senior technicians or managers.
Mr Lopresti added:
“The work Halfords are doing with their apprentices is in line with the Government’s aims. We want to increase opportunities for young people in the jobs market by improving access to high quality training. To continue the improvement, we will be offering incentives to employers to take on apprentices, reducing red tape and providing funds to allow companies to design, develop and purchase their own training programmes. I would like to wish Ben all the best with his career at Halfords.”