Apprentices gear up for a new career in motor trade

Present and former apprentics form the backbone of the Blackshaws Nissan team.
Present and former apprentics form the backbone of the Blackshaws Nissan team.

A car retailer is offering two local youngsters a first step on the path towards a rewarding career in the motor industry.

With youth unemployment at a high and opportunities limited, Blackshaws in Alnwick is making available a pair of highly sought-after manufacturer-backed apprenticeships.

The award-winning dealership is on the lookout for one apprentice to join its sales team and another to train as a technician and is inviting those interested to attend an open evening at its Lionheart Enterprise Park showroom on Thursday, March 7, from 5.30pm to 7pm.

The successful candidates will join the two apprentices and the 10 fully-qualified former apprentices who form the backbone of the thriving family-run firm’s operations.

Once appointed, the apprentice sales assistant will undergo extensive on-the-job training and be enrolled on a sales apprenticeship programme at Newcastle College.

Meanwhile, the apprentice technician’s training will be split between the dealership’s high-tech workshop and the Doncaster training centre and will culminate in a NVQ Level 3 in Maintenance and Repair of Light Vehicles, an IMI Technical Certificate and an Advanced Apprenticeship Completion Certificate.

Operations Manager William Blackshaw, who himself began his Blackshaws career as an apprentice, said: “We know from long experience that a good apprenticeship makes for a good employee and that’s why so many of the current Blackshaws team, a dozen in all, began their careers as apprentices.”

One such employee is Bill Newlands, who joined Blackshaws as an apprentice technician as a 15-year-old in 1957 and has worked at the dealership ever since.

Now semi-retired, Bill still works as the dealership’s delivery driver and remains convinced the apprenticeship he served all those years ago stood him in good stead for the long and fruitful career he enjoyed.

Bill said: “I remember my apprenticeship with great fondness, learning my trade and skills working in the real-life environment of the Blackshaws workshop and the classroom at Ashington Mining School.

“It was a terrific way to learn the ropes and gave me all the skills I needed to go on to a terrific career.

“I’d definitely recommend an apprenticeship to any young people with an interest in the motor trade.”