Leamington garage strengthens workforce with apprentice sign-ups

Photo shows: Craig Potter (Gas Guzzlers), Stephen Hall (Warwick Trident College), Kyle Gilbert and Joshua Williams (both Gaz Guzzlers).
Gas Guzzlers 1[2]

A Leamington garage is revving up for the future after using a ‘try before you buy’ approach to bring in two apprentices.

Gas Guzzlers Garage, which has been trading for seven years on Althorpe Street, has recruited a second apprentice from WCG (formerly Warwickshire College Group) after taking on the garage’s first last year.

Owner Craig Potter initially took on Joshua Williams, 19, for an industry placement while studying at Warwick Trident College.

After impressing during his placement, he was given the opportunity to continue on a three-year apprenticeship programme.

Following the success of taking on his first apprentice, Craig has brought Kyle Gilbert, 17, on board and he will be splitting his time between the workplace and studying at Warwick Trident College.

Craig, who himself studied motor vehicle mechanics and welding at Warwickshire College, says there are many benefits to taking on young trainees and is hoping to next take on a female apprentice to join the five-person team at Gas Guzzlers.

He said: “Apprenticeships give these young people a chance to get their foot in the door. A lot of youngsters want everything given to them on a plate, but apprenticeships encourage them to build a good work ethic.

“Josh completed a full-time year at college and during that joined us on a work placement. He did his 300 plus hours on placement and then it made sense for us to take him on as an apprentice.

“It never set out to be a try before you buy thing but it has worked out like that.

“Josh is like my right-hand man now. We want people who work hard, are willing to come in early and are able to adapt to your way of working. Josh has done that and we’re already seeing similar from Kyle.

“We haven’t had a history at Gas Guzzlers of taking apprentices on but it’s certainly something we’re looking more at and our next goal is to take on a female apprentice.”

Josh, from Sydenham, added: “I did my A Levels and that didn’t go too well, so after assessing my options it made sense for me to move into this industry and it’s been great.

“The placement was a lot of work but gave me a good opportunity to learn here and eventually get this job.”

Kyle, from Leamington, said: “I thought I’d learn more doing it in the trade and get more experience. I’m enjoying it so far and learning more every day.”

Stephen Hall, Work-Based Learning Manager at Warwick Trident College, added: “The introduction of significant industry placements has been hugely beneficial for learners, colleges and businesses alike.

“Josh and Kyle are learning their trade on the job, but have also had the benefit of developing their skills during time at the college.

“We work with a wide range of local businesses like Gas Guzzlers and the approach of being able to have a young person in on placement before deciding whether to take them on as an apprentice is working really well and it’s something we expect to see more of.”

WCG offers a wide range of apprenticeships in a variety of industries.