Kia is proudly supporting National Apprenticeship Week, which runs 7th -13th February, with its latest showcase of real-world apprenticeship stories.
Now in its 17th year, the Kia UK Apprenticeship Programme continues to go from strength-to-strength, delivering younger people with experience, expertise and hands-on tuition within the automotive industry while also enabling them to earn as they learn.
Higher education can entail high costs for students, whereas apprenticeships bridge the gap for those students who instead prefer to gain training and employment skills, as well as accredited qualifications, all at the same time. Apprenticeships appeal to many people from all walks of life, whether they’re looking for a career change or want to expand on knowledge learned in another job.
Kieran Simmons, First Year Service Technician Apprentice at Sutton Park Kia Coventry, commented: “I had a passion for mechanics and I worked in a garage doing manual gearbox and clutch work, which I really enjoyed. I wanted to learn more about cars other than just gearboxes. I wanted to learn all about the diagnostics and understand other parts of vehicles.”
Sam Quick, Third Year Service Technician Apprentice at Grovebury Cars Kia Bicester, added: “I started at a late age. I wanted to be a vehicle technician when I left school, but unfortunately I didn’t have the GCSEs to get into college and there wasn’t the same support then like there is today. My friend worked for Kia and asked me if I wanted to come for an interview, but I thought I was too old to apply. He told me age wouldn’t be a problem, so I applied and got an interview.”
Global events have highlighted STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) skills shortages in the automotive industry, as well as supporting the future of vehicles, which is why Kia UK invests in apprentices and trains them to have the most comprehensive skillsets possible.
Apprentices undertaking the Kia programme to become a Service Technician, for example, are trained far beyond a comparable college course. On top of basic standards learned, Kia programme Service Technician apprentices gain IMI Electric Vehicle Level 3 qualification, All-wheel Drive, Electrics 1, Engine Systems, and Transmissions, before finally becoming an Accredited Certified Technician at the end of their apprenticeship.
Frankie Carr-Brown, First Year Service Technician Apprentice at Hendy Kia Tunbridge Wells, commented: “The possibilities are amazing once I complete the apprenticeship. My goal is to get to Master Technician or Service Manager. With the qualification you get given when you finish your apprenticeship, you can achieve so much more than I could have imagined.”
Chris Lear, Aftersales Director at Kia UK Limited said: “Apprenticeships are a proven way for people to learn new skills and get a foot hold within the automotive industry. Our programme is one of the most comprehensive in the industry and really focuses on what’s important for apprentices to learn. Most of our dealer partners offer placements for apprentices too, to provide them with the hands-on experience they need. We’ve also future-proofed our apprentices, by giving them the tools they will come to rely on, such as the Electric Vehicle Level 3 qualification for budding Service Technicians. This is just one small example of how much we value our apprentices, and how we invest in their future. National Apprenticeship Week is a great way to celebrate the value of apprentices, while Kia continues to invest in them.”
95 per cent of the 192-strong Kia dealer network has at least one apprentice, with more than 230 apprentices within the Kia family.
The programme is supported by the Kia Academy, based in Nottingham, where five apprenticeship options are available for apprentices to learn hands-on skills they can take away with them and apply at work.
Ranging in length from two to three years, the Kia Apprenticeship Programme currently offers five programme options including: Service Technician; Service Advisor; Parts Advisor; Paint Technician and Panel Technician. All five programmes provide formal qualifications as well as the opportunity to build knowledge and confidence. Extensive product training, working alongside qualified Kia technicians, carrying out diagnostics and learning all the skills of customer service ensure each candidate is set for a career in the motor industry.
“My advice is, DO IT”, commented Carr-Brown, “It’s the most rewarding method of learning you can pick, and the skills you gain along the way will stay with you for life. It’s easily the most interesting way to grow.”
Not only are the hands-on subject-specific skills learned while working as an apprentice, but other aspects too, such as customer service following working on a customer’s vehicle. Simmons explains: “I love my job because I’m doing a bit of everything and I’m learning a lot. I feel satisfied when doing a job independently, knowing I did the whole job myself and making a customer happy with my work.”
People interested in the Kia apprenticeship programme can find out more information by calling 0115 945 7512, emailing [email protected] or visiting www.kia.com/uk/careers-apprenticeships