The success of the DAF Trucks National Dealer Apprentice Programme is well known throughout the DAF network. All are justifiably proud of a programme which, since its launch in 1995, has developed and trained over 1,350 apprentices.
This year’s Apprentice of the Year Awards and Graduation Ceremony was attended by over 350 people drawn from a wide spectrum of representatives from the commercial vehicle industry. The day started early for the top 10 apprentices of each year who were selected to compete in the annual Apprentice of the Year competition. This was followed by an ’Open Day’ which provided an opportunity for all visitors to view the College following its recent refurbishment which included its workshop facilities and a fully equipped Learning Resource Centre.
In the evening, the focus switched to Tortworth Court Hotel, near Bristol, where the lively audience were treated to a spectacular presentation celebrating the success and achievements of both the graduates and the Apprentice of the Year contenders.
Providing the very best training with the latest equipment is clearly important to DAF. The college has access to a comprehensive range of DAF trucks – as well as engines, gearboxes, axles, diagnostic equipment and basic components. To compliment this array of vehicles and equipment it was announced at the Awards that Leyland Trucks will be donating a Euro 6 LF with DAF Trucks providing the latest DAVIE4.
Among the honoured guests at the ceremony were trustees of the J P Blanch Grassroots Fund, a fund set up to help youngsters into an engineering career. Three years ago, the fund agreed to support Stephen Rogers of Ford & Slater DAF Norwich through the DAF Apprentice programme. Stephen was one of the 2014 graduates and competed as an Apprentice of the Year finalist.
Tony Shepherd, Business Services Manager for DAF Trucks and responsible for the National Dealer Apprentice Programme, talked of DAF’s pride and commitment to the programme, “Our graduating apprentices have great opportunities for the future. And that’s what makes this programme so rewarding for everyone who has a part to play in it. 20% of DAF technicians in our network have come through our apprentice programme and 25% of all our Master Technicians are ex DAF apprentices”
Tony concluded this year’s ceremony by talking directly to the proud parents in the audience. “Your son is at the beginning of his career with the market leading truck franchise offering the best back-up in the business”.
Apprentice of the Year
All competition finalists received a certificate, plaque and tool vouchers. In each year, thirdplaced students received tool vouchers worth £100 and runners-up were awarded tool vouchers worth £150. The winners in years 1 and 2 received a tool trolley, a tool voucher for £150, a personal cheque for £300 and a shield honouring their achievement. The third year winner was awarded tool vouchers to the value of £150, a personal cheque for £300, holiday vouchers worth £750 and a commemorative shield.
3rd Year - Apprentice of the Year
Thomas Lord, Ford & Slater DAF - Leicester
Luke Barlow, Wessex DAF
Jack Upton, Imperial Commercials – Garretts Green
2nd Year - Apprentice of the Year
G D Harries
Ford & Slater
1st Year - Apprentice of the Year
- Bury St. Edmunds