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A J Reynolds wins Somerset Apprentice Award again in 2017


The Somerset Apprenticehip awards 2017 were held at Taunton on 10th March 2017. A J Reynolds Car and Truck Services were nominated in the Category "Small Employer of the Year" this was the same category which he won in 2016. Since last years win, A J Reynolds had a Level 3 Apprentice qualify and was employed in a full time post. A Level 1 HGV apprentice was employed to take his place, last years Level 1 Light Vehicle apprentice advanced to level 2. Our Administrative Level 2 apprentice advanced to Level 3. To my great suprise I won again and retained the title of "Small Employer of the Year" It felt even more special than last year, as although nominated I didn`t expect to win and was preparing to congratulate the winner and then heard my name announced. I regard this as a personal win for myself and not the Company, as this has been about my patience to train, giving young people and apprenticeships a chance and being involved with apprentices since 1992.


Of course the first step is to make the decision to employ an apprentice. The next step is to find a Training Provider; they will help with enrolment and all the administration side of Apprenticeships. I have found excellent providers in Wiltshire College who take care of my Motor Vehicle apprentices and SS&L who take care of my Administrative apprentices. SS&L are really special and have a fantastic team that looks after all my needs and their training is second to non. Providers can easily be found on the internet. I like to keep it local; this makes attendance for the apprentice so much easier.


It takes so much patience when training younger people and its not everyone who can teach. Its also a learning curve for the employer as an apprentice needs to be shown more than once before they can be competent; also, the employer needs to have the knowledge to be able to pass it on. Training has to be planned and results do not happen overnight, it does take at least 3 years to train to Level 3. Training can be fun and its a good way for the employer to refresh his knowledge but also very fustrating when things do not sink in with the apprentice after the second, third, fourth or fifth time of instruction. It`s a life changing experience for an apprentice as they start as teenagers and finish as young men/women, an employer has a role in the apprentices personal developement.


Not everyone wants to or has the qualities necessary to go to University, or doesnt want to build up a debt. Its such a shame that sometimes after a Degree is passed it is never used towards a career. Apprenticeships are hands on and made up of combined training between the workplace and the training provider, it also pays a wage. I like the envolvement of being able to support my apprentices and assist them if they can not understand elements at college and can test them in the work place. I get massive satisfaction each time my apprentices pass Level 3.


I have taken on apprentices since 1992. There has always been an age-old thing of lack of skilled tradesman, so I decided to train Apprentices to make my own skilled work force. Of course, not all apprentices succeed and some drop out through various reasons but on the whole the larger percentage end up as skilled. Some get their trade and move on, this does hurt although I accept this now and dont hold it against the Apprentice scheme. On the brighter side my Service Director Adrian was apprenticed in 1998, my senior technician Dan was apprenticed in 2002, my company secretary Paul was apprenticed in 2005, Jordan apprenticed in 2011 and of course our current 3 apprentices. A J Reynolds will always have an apprenticeship program.

"Our youth are our future, not our burden"

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