Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has backed the search for the plumbers and electricians of the future, with support for the UK-wide HIP and SPARKS Learner of the Year competitions.
The van manufacturer provided the competition with a Volkswagen Crafter and Transporter to support the logistics team with the transportation of materials and equipment to and from events across the nation, and to the grand finals.
It is the third year that Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has supported the HIP and SPARKS Learner of the Year, which helps to promote the benefit of apprenticeships and encouraging those on schemes to hone their skills.
The competition finalists were students and apprentices from six regions in England and Wales, who battled against aspiring electricians and plumbers to showcase their talents. Benjamin Fox from Exeter College won the SPARKS Learner of the Year, beating five other regional finalists after completing a live 10-hour practical test, carried out across two days, at Schneider Electric’s Innovation Hub in Coventry.
Ruben Duggan from Coleg Y Cymoedd’s Ystrad Mynach Campus won the HIP Learner of the Year, after completing a live 12-hour practical test, carried out across two days, at the Worcester Bosch Headquarters in Worcester.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ commitment to supporting the tradespeople of the future is in addition to its own programmes, which offers apprenticeships as a Service Technician, Parts Advisor, and Service Advisor, where young workers can learn from expert technicians. The programmes can be tailored specifically to help apprentices develop and hone their skills, using both practical and theoretical learning in the brand’s Van Centres as well as at the Volkswagen Group’s National Learning Centre in Milton Keynes.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is also piloting a nationwide internship programme providing practical experience to college graduates at Van Centres. The scheme, launched in partnership with Autotech Academy, gives newly qualified automotive students a route into full-time employment within the industry and provides the next generation with a real-world opportunity to use the skills and knowledge they’ve learnt at college.
James Allitt, Head of Aftersales at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “We are proud to support the search for the next-generation of plumbers and electricians. Our continued involvement with the competition highlights how important the future talent pipeline is for us – and that extends beyond trades into the automotive industry. With their versatility, reliability, and comfort, the Crafter and Transporter were ideal companions for the HIP and SPARKS Learner of the Year team.”
Emily Hilton, Operations Manager at HIP and SPARKS, said: “We were thrilled to see such a high standard shown across both competitions this year. At HIP and SPARKS, we believe competitions are key for building confidence and developing skills. Providing platforms to showcase trade talent is essential and we are committed to supporting and encouraging learners to take part in as many competitions and experience as many opportunities as possible. Huge congratulations to Ruben and Ben.”
For more information on Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ apprenticeship programme, please visit: https://www.volkswagencv-apprenticeships.co.uk/