Bristol Street Motors Forge Ahead With Derby College Work Experience Programme

A partnership between Vertu Motors plc who trade as Bristol Street Motors and Derby College is enhancing the career prospects of students with hands-on work experience.

Now in their second year of working together, Derby College and Bristol Street Motors have established a strong relationship. The scheme was launched at Vertu’s Bristol Street Motors Nissan dealership in Sir Frank Whittle Road, and was quickly extended to include its Derby Renault and Volvo dealerships on the same site. More recently, students have also been attending the SEAT Derby site near the College’s Pride Park campus on Locomotive Way.

More than 75 students have benefitted from the scheme so far but that is expected to increase in the near future. One success is former full time Derby College Motor Vehicle student 18-year-old Lewis Eyley who has been a first year apprentice technician at the dealership for three months. He has been enrolled on the Volkswagen Modern Apprentice Programme and is looking forward to a long career in the motor trade.

Vertu’s Group Aftersales Manager, Jimmy Young said: “Following talks between Derby College and Vertu Motors I went along to the campus for a tour of the motor vehicle facilities.

“I was extremely impressed with the set up. The purpose-built workshops have authentic high-tech equipment, meaning the students are used to seeing engines being replaced and looking at cars going up and down on ramps and have a greater understanding of what working in a retail service department is really like.

“Derby College’s garage is open to the public, so they’re also comfortable dealing directly with customers. They know about being personable and the importance of reassuring customers that their car is a priority.

“The scheme has been organised to allow us to provide structured work experience for four students, for a day at a time, over the course of a month. That way a range of students gain access to the experience and more of our technicians have the chance to do some mentoring and pass on their experience.

“There is plenty for the students to do when they’re with us. They work on mixed services, which means preparing used cars for sale and completing final checks on new cars as well as working on car repairs. It’s great experience for the real world of work.

“We’ve noticed that because young people are so used to technology, smart phones and other devices, trainees take to the computerised diagnostics side of our industry like ducks to water. Today's new cars are linked directly to the manufacturers’ computers but that doesn’t put the students off.”

And gaining experience with Vertu Motors can enhance the career prospects of students who show the most promise. Jimmy said: “Our service managers make a note of those students who have particularly impressed them.

“This means that when a technician vacancy comes up and a student applies for the job, that person is already known to us and we're already aware of what they can do.

“We are looking into the possibility of running a similar scheme at our dealerships in Ilkeston, Nottingham and Burton as well as potentially at our new Honda motorcycle dealership in Nottingham.

“The project is working well and is proving to have advantages for the students, our dealerships and the communities we serve.”

Derby College Motor Vehicle Team Manager Matt Curtis added: "The opportunity to work with a large professional company Vertu Motor has really enhanced our full time student provision with outstanding and worthwhile work experience.

"The opportunity for each student is priceless and it also allows them to be seen and tested by the employer with a view to any future apprenticeship vacancies they may need filling."

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