This year for the first time ever, the Volkswagen Group Apprentice Programme has created a “Fast Track Group” and Alex Gillham of Lookers Audi Guilford has been selected to take part.
This group will be made up of 12 high achievers from the current 3rd year Service Technician apprentices, who will be ask to undertake additional courses in order to prepare them for their QTA (Qualified Technical Assessment), meaning they will graduate ahead of schedule.
Alex joins an elite group not only within the Volkswagen Programme but also in British history.
Around since 1914, apprenticeships have a long legacy of developing key skills on the job. One hundred years ago the most common apprenticeship was dressmaking followed by engineering and the average starting age was 15 to 17. Today apprentices are aged on average from 19 to 24 and work in a variety of areas including social care, fashion, broadcast media and the motor trade.
We caught up with Alex, aged 21, to find out more about his achievements.
When did you find out you had been selected for the Fast Track programme?
About a month ago. I was told by my VLA (Vocational Learning Advisor) who monitors and signs off on my tasks. I was really surprised and very happy. Only 12 people were selected from the whole group so it is very special.
What does it mean to be fast tracked?
Currently I am a third year Service Technician apprentice; by being fast tracked I will be able to become a qualified Technician much quicker. I will have extra courses to do soon which are: Petrol Engine Management, Diesel Engine Management, Electrical Diagnosis & Diagnosis of Network Systems, so there’s a lot of work ahead!
Where are you completing your training?
I go to the Volkswagen Technical Training Centre in Milton Keynes where I am part of a small class of around 10 – 15 people. Every 2 months I spend a week there and there’s a mix of classroom based power point presentations along with more practical training. 2 days out of 5 we do tasks in the workshop. This includes diagnosis and problem solving. leading to the STA (Service Test Assessment) which is a 2 day exam.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Working with a premium brand is exciting; I am always learning new skills which I really enjoy and what I am learning covers Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and Seat too.
What car do you drive?
A Mini but at some point I’d like to buy an Audi.
What ambitions do you have for the future?
I’d like to work toward becoming a Master Technician, and beyond that possibly take on a managerial role.
What would you say to others considering joining the apprenticeship programme?
It’s a great opportunity where you are paid to learn and you get to work with nice cars!
Delighted with Alex’s success his manager Graham Nunn commented: “Alex has worked extremely hard during the last 3 years and it is great to see his efforts have been rewarded in being selected as part of the fast track group. We will continue to support Alex with his ongoing development plan and look forward to sharing further good news once he achieves his Audi qualified technician status.”
According to Government statistics over 2 million apprenticeship positions have been taken up in England since 2010 meaning the historic legacy will continue into the future too.
Well done Alex – we look forward to hearing all about your progress!