Lookers has been acknowledged for its commitment to the development of young talent after winning the North East regional final of the National Apprenticeship Awards 2017.

The group, which triumphed in The Open University sponsored Macro category, is committed to ensuring that its customers continue to receive the very best repair and maintenance support, all carried out by world class technicians, and it believes recruiting technical apprentices is a vital part of this.

As a result, the intake of technical apprentices joining Lookers increased from 78 in 2016 to over 160 this year.

The company is also working hard to defy gender stereotypes by developing a female focussed technical apprenticeship as part of wider efforts to create a diverse workforce.

Today Lookers represents 31 franchise brands and delivers over 210,000 vehicles a year to its customers from a national network of 157 motor retail outlets. In the North East, Lookers operates from 17 dealerships as well as a regional head office in Newcastle.

Matthew Clay, Group Qualifications Manager at Lookers, said: “We’re very proud to win the North East regional final of the National Apprenticeship Awards 2017. We’ve put a lot of work into our programme and are already seeing positive results right across the business. We believe that creating young, skilled technicians through the apprenticeship programme is vital, not just for our business, but for the future of the motor industry.

“This award is a fantastic pat on the back and will make us more determined to develop our programme into an even greater success.”

The National Apprenticeship Awards, now in their fourteenth year, are run by the National Apprenticeship Service and recognise excellence in two areas: businesses that grow their own talent with apprentices and apprentices who have made a significant contribution to their workplaces.

Following the six regional ceremonies currently taking place across England, winners from each category will have their entries sent for national judging. Three from each category will then be selected as national finalists. The very best employer category entries are also in the running to feature in the prestigious Centrica sponsored Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list 2017.

National award winners and the Top 100 Employers will be announced at a ceremony to be held on 18 January 2018 in London.

Sue Husband, Director of the National Apprenticeship Service, said: “The National Apprenticeship Awards allow talented apprentices and committed employers from across our regions to receive well-deserved recognition for their apprenticeship achievements.

“Winners recognised at these awards show the range of sectors and variety of job roles apprenticeships are available in, and how they can deliver the skills employers need. I congratulate all winners on their success so far and the very best of luck in the next stage of the competition.”

To find out more about the benefits of apprenticeships, search on GOV.UK or to find out more on the apprenticeship awards visit https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/natio... Alternatively call 08000 150 600 or follow @apprenticeships on Twitter or National Apprenticeship Service on LinkedIn.