New apprentices at Vauxhall Ellesmere Port have taken their first steps towards a career with the motor manufacturer.
The 10 young people are some of the first in the UK to start a new four-year apprenticeship designed by and for the automotive industry.
The company, one of the first UK car manufacturers to launch the mechatronics maintenance technician apprenticeship, has helped design, develop and shape the new apprenticeship standard.
Mechatronics are a combination of mechanical engineering and electronics.
The apprentices, who will spend the first year of their apprenticeship studying at West Cheshire College’s high tech engineering facilities, were selected following an intensive five-month interview process involving more than 700 applicants.
Successful applicant Aaron Griffiths, 22, from Ellesmere Port, said: “I have always been interested in engineering and I have studied engineering at university.
“Now I have the chance to put all the theories I have learnt into practice which is great.
“It has been an intense few weeks to start with but it has been great to meet the nine other apprentices. We are already like a little family and all stick together so when we do go into the plant at Vauxhall it will be a little less daunting.
“In the future I would love to get on as much as I can with Vauxhall and progress within the company. I would also like to learn the fabrication side of things to do as a part-time hobby.”
Beth Garnett, 18, from the Wirral, added: After I have finished my apprenticeship I would love to work my way up within Vauxhall as a mechatronic engineer dealing with all the mechanics and technology of how the cars are made. I am very excited for the future.”
Val Thomas, plant personnel manager at Vauxhall, said: “We are extremely proud and pleased to be able to offer apprenticeships to local young people in our production areas. The new recruits will be trained to a high standard and will ensure the skill transfer to produce our cars for many years to come”.
John Cooper, Unite Leader at the plant, added: “Manufacturing is the powerhouse of the economy and the automotive industry is central to it.
“Vauxhall Motors plays an integral role in the economy and with the recruitment of more apprentices continues to invest in the future of the plant, the local community and gives employment opportunities to young people”.
Maria Davison, director of business development at the college, believes: “The UK economy is suffering from a chronic skills shortage in many key sectors including engineering for the automotive industry. This new apprenticeship programme that Vauxhall has helped to develop will enable us as a specialist FE college to help meet the demand for higher skills and integrate practical experience and academic learning.”