From education to employment

Back in the driving seat for mechanic Anthony

Enjoying his internship as a mechanic - former Leeds City College student Anthony Walker

Anthony Walker was at a crossroads when he decided to get his motor industry ambitions back on track.

Although he already had some training as a mechanic under his belt, the now 30 year old had been on benefits for a few years before he enrolled with Leeds City College in 2022.

Anthony is also dyslexic, which made the prospect of beginning his Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Principles course more daunting.

Thanks to his own commitment plus outstanding support from his tutors, however, he completed his Level 3 studies and is now enjoying an internship with car dealership JCT600 at its Volkswagen Van Centre Leeds.

Relishing an opportunity to shine

He said: “I really enjoyed my experience at the college which I took up after getting the chance to complete my qualifications for free.*

“I was nervous at first due to having been away from mechanics for a number of years and having a learning disability; but I was supported throughout by the knowledgeable, friendly staff – who are more like friends than tutors.

“I am thoroughly enjoying my time with JCT600 and hope they take me on after my six month internship is complete.“

Anthony’s work opportunity came about through enrolling with Autotech Academy, which offers promising college students a route into the industry.

Sharing an inspirational story – and aiming high

He spoke to current motor vehicle trainees about how he is enjoying the role when he returned to the college – part of Luminate Education Group – recently to collect his IMI (Institute of the Motor Industry) certificate.

He said: “I was anxious about talking at first but, because the group was not too large and my old tutor Simon Darley was there, I really enjoyed speaking and sharing my experience with the students, and answering their questions.

“I could see that a lot of them were very interested in my internship and were thinking about trying something similar.”

A great opportunity for students and garages

Regional Recruitment Consultant with Autotech Academy, Ryan Ford, helped Anthony land his position with JCT600.

He said: “This niche area of recruitment is very rewarding as our candidates have worked hard for years at college to prepare themselves for full-time work. To then be able to help  them get into their chosen field is really satisfying.

“Candidates come to us when they have finished their Level 3 in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair, so they have the technical knowledge to be able to step into a workshop, and help satisfy the industry’s ever-increasing demand for technicians, straight away. That means garages get a quick return on their investment.”

The company has been running the internship programme for two and a half years now and has placed more than 150 interns this year.

Anthony, meanwhile, is already looking to the future – and has his sights set high. He said: “My goal is to become a master technician in light vehicles at a main dealership or within the motor sport sector.

“I would like to thank Simon and the whole team at Leeds City College’s Printworks campus for helping me feel comfortable back in the workshop, building my confidence and helping me with my dyslexia .”

*Through the government’s Free Courses for Jobs scheme.

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