staffordshire (PRWEB UK) 16 September 2011
A Shard End man is being championed as one of the best young mechanics in the country after winning a national competition for apprentice motor technicians.
Luke Tomkins, 19, was named Halfords Autocentres Apprentice of the Year after seeing off competition from fellow apprentices from around the country in the national garage network’s annual skills competition.
Luke, who works at the Halfords Autocentre on Kingsbury Road, Erdington, is one of 180 young apprentices employed by the company, the largest apprentice programme of its kind in the UK. The third year apprentice was nominated to take part in the competition by company managers who, recognising his potential, encouraged him to put his skills to the test. Their faith was swiftly rewarded as Luke easily cleared the qualification rounds to earn one of just ten places in the national final.
The final, hosted at training provider ProVQ’s state-of-the-art workshop facilities near Shrewsbury, saw the ten talented young technicians compete against the clock over a number of tasks, including a vehicle safety inspection and various fault diagnosis challenges.
Luke impressed the judges with his consistent technical competency, expertise and ability to maintain a cool head under pressure before being declared overall winner.
Bill Collins, technical training manager for Halfords Autocentres, said: “Halfords Autocentres runs the largest motor technician apprentice scheme in the UK and at any one time we have approximately 180 young people progressing through the three-year scheme. The recruitment process alone is challenging and to complete the three years requires commitment and skill to progress through to its conclusion, so we are confident when we say that those on the scheme represent the very best young talent starting our in the trade.
“Our Apprentice of the Year competition is a chance to celebrate the fresh talent we have in the business and to showcase their skills. All ten finalists should be proud of themselves; they are the cream of the crop, which makes Luke the crème de la crème.”
Luke said: “I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship with Halfords Autocentres and competing in this competition has been a real highlight. The final was quite nerve wracking as you had to complete all of the tasks within a certain time while all the time being watched by an assessor, so you really felt the pressure.
“I thought I’d done OK, but I was absolutely knocked out when I found out I’d won! I was up against some really good mechanics too, so it is a real confidence boost.”
Luke was presented a trophy and his prize – a Porsche driving experience at Silverstone race circuit - by Halfords Autocentres chief executive Duncan Wilkes.
He said: “I always look forward to this competition. Our apprentice scheme is extremely important, encouraging and nurturing young talent and creating the brilliant technicians of tomorrow.
“We strive to make our people the best they can be and the enthusiasm and dedication shown by our apprentices is a testament to the scheme’s success. I’d like to congratulate Luke for his achievement and say that he thoroughly deserves his title.
“I believe that the single most important thing we can do is to put our customers’ cars into the hands of the right people. Having seen the standard of work in this year’s competition, I’m assured that our future is in good shape.”
Shard End champion apprentice Luke Tomkins with Halfords Autocentres CEO, Duncan Wilkes
Jeremy Merckel at WAA, 0121 362 1637 / jeremy(dot)merckel(at)waa(dot)co(dot)uk
About Halfords Autocentres:
With over 240 centres nationwide, Halfords Autocentres is the UK’s leading independent car servicing, repair, tyre and MOT network. Now part of the Halfords group, our name may be new, but our centres have been a feature of the towns and cities of Britain for a decade or more.
Halfords Autocentres provides dealership quality work at affordable prices to around 650,000 customers every year, with over 8 out of 10 saying that they would recommend us to a friend. Our expert service is backed with both a quality and price guarantee: work is guaranteed for 12 months or 12,000 miles, and we promise to match any price quoted locally like for like.