Bentley Motors gears up on apprenticeships and skills

01 July 2011 #SMMT News

Skills and apprenticeships have been a major theme for Bentley Motors in and around its Crewe factory over the last three weeks helping to raise awareness of manufacturing and the range of career opportunities on offer within the industry.

As a WorldSkills London 2011 Presenting Sponsor, Bentley Motors hosted an expert Seminar on ‘Value of Apprenticeships’ in Crewe last week. Focussing on the value and contribution good apprenticeships make to companies and the UK economy at large, Christine Gaskell, Bentley Motors’ Member of the Board for Personnel and key note speaker during the event said, “It is a great pleasure to welcome experts in our facilities on a subject which means a lot to Bentley. For us, good quality apprenticeship schemes are the bedrock on which our future is built. If companies such as Bentley are to remain internationally competitive, we have to attract the best young people and give them a training programme that allows them to flourish.”

Aidan Jones, Chief Executive of WorldSkills London 2011 added, “I am convinced that the seminar at Bentley Motors has made a significant contribution to the promotion of vocational qualifications as a positive and valued alternative to academic qualifications. The provision of apprenticeships which includes vocational training by Companies such as Bentley is helping upskill the UK workforce, making it more globally competitive and, in the case of manufacturing, helping rebalance the economy. WorldSkills London 2011 will inspire more young people to be enterprising in their career choices highlighting the incredible skill levels achieved by young people from all over the world and helping change how people perceive their future options.”

Alongside the event, three of Bentleys’ apprentices, Paul Alcock, Maintenance Technician, Marcus Gorvin, Technical Support Craft Apprentice, and Reece Jenks, Tool Room Craft Apprentice, showcased their incredible skill levels having created a fully functioning mini moto and completed an additional surprise challenge during the Manufacturing Team Challenge competition one week earlier.  The competition for qualification for the UK team took place over 4 days but involved many additional hours of preparation in addition to their regular roles at Bentley Motors.

Other speakers during the event included John Myers from the National Apprenticeship Service and Chris Kirk from City & Guilds. After an intensive and constructive exchange with the audience the 30 attendees enjoyed a factory tour supported by Bentley Motors’ apprentices providing a deeper insight into the wide range of skills and apprenticeships Bentley Motors offers.

Over the same period, Bentley also undertook one of its major regional school outreach activities. During two visits to the Croft Primary School in Warrington, Year 6 children were encouraged to try their hand at a variety of tasks that demonstrate the skill levels required to work in a modern manufacturing plant. This included clay modelling and a particularly tough jigsaw challenge but, as an incentive, they also got the opportunity to experience one of the company’s finest products, the Bentley Mulsanne.

Christine Gaskell, Bentley Motors’ Member of the Board for Personnel said, “Bentley has always been strongly committed to skills development and apprenticeships and has been very active in promoting careers in the industry. This year we have seen a 300% increase in apprenticeship applications which demonstrates the success of our awareness rising activities attracting young people into the company.”

Click through to find out more about the ‘See Inside Manufacturing‘ initative, launched earlier this week.

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