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Outstanding success for last year's award winning apprentice: "I didn't expect to win!"
PUBLISHED: 07/10/2013 | UPDATED:21/02/2014 13:28:24
The Outstanding Achievers Awards celebrate the dedication of candidates and training providers within the IMI Awards network, and the finalists have been announced this week.

The Outstanding Achievers Awards celebrate the dedication of candidates and training providers within the IMI Awards network, and the finalists have been announced this week. But what does winning one of these awards mean for an apprentice? We speak to last year's Outstanding Technical Student, Michael Ross, about the impact the award has had on his career.

Michael Ross, 27, of Inverness works as a diagnostic technician for Autovision and was winner of last year's Outstanding Technical Student in the Light Vehicle category. Michael also works part time in his own business, 8BallTuning.

Q. Have you always known that you wanted a career in the motor industry? What made you go for it?

A. It took me a long time to decide what I wanted to do career wise. At secondary school I stayed on until the end of 6th year, but I still couldn't decide what I wanted to do so I took time out. During this break, the penny dropped. I was a keen reader of car magazines and I realised that cars were a big passion of mine. After one big garage repair bill, I decided I'd like to learn to do it myself. I was very late in starting my apprenticeship, being 20 at the time of signing up.

Q. What made you choose diagnostics over other routes?

At the very early stages, I was just happy to learn how things worked, but soon after I realised how technical vehicles were and this really interested me. The general mechanical side of the job is not all that interesting academically to me, but when you delve into diagnosing why things don't work, then that gets my attention. The ability to get given a job where the car doesn't run, then step-by-step working out why not, and fix it, gives great job satisfaction.

Q. You were nominated for your award by Raytheon (Vauxhall's training provider). How did training with Raytheon help you reach your ambitions?

A. The training through Raytheon was very comprehensive and covered virtually every aspect required. The support was brilliant, and the tutors excellent. For me, being eager to learn gave me the ability to progress so well and in 2011, I was winner of Vauxhall's Apprentice of the Year Award. Since then, I've gained Service Technician Gold status and am working toward platinum status.

Q. How did you feel when you found out you had become an IMI Awards Outstanding Achiever?

A. I can remember it well. I was genuinely shocked because I didn't expect to win. Once it had sunk in, I can remember thinking all the hard work has finally paid off. I'm still absolutely delighted to have the immense effort that I put in recognised.

Q. Since winning the award, you now run your own business in Inverness. Do you think the award helped you to achieve this?

I applied for a grant from the Prince's Youth Trust, and I think it was the Outstanding Technical Student award which helped me get it. Going in for the Outstanding Achiever award is one of the best things I've done.

Q. How has this changed the way you look at your personal goals and achievements?

A. It's completely changed the way I go about things now. As clichéd as it is, it does go to show that putting in the effort does bring great rewards. I don't question whether I can do things anymore. I know it's possible, and it's just a case of building the foundations and climbing to the top, which is working very well for me so far.

Q. What is your advice for other automotive apprentices?

A. Have the correct mind-set and a goal you wish to achieve, no matter how far away it might be. Build the foundations through learning and climb your way to your goals.

Q. Where do you hope to be in five years' time?

A. I intend to still be running my own tuning company, with fairly large premises, and a rolling road. The one thing left to achieve is the rolling road. My company is now an extensive dealer for a huge range of aftermarket parts and, as the first high voltage vehicle tuning company in Scotland, I aspire to create the first range of electric vehicle tuning products.

To learn more about Michael's company, go to