Case Studies

Chris Kidd - Vehicle Body and Paint Operations (Refinishing)

Why did you choose to work in the motor trade and with Volkswagen Group in particular?

"When I was at school I did some work experience in the business - a week working in paint and a week in panel. I really enjoyed it and started a part-time job with the garage. I began work here one week after I left school."

What process did you follow to get onto your apprenticeship?

"When I started work I wasn't aware that there were apprenticeships available. But my manager told me about it and once I had the information I was eager to join the programme. I was especially keen to gain expertise in the spraying side."

Can you describe a typical day as an apprentice?

""In the early stages I would watch a more experienced member of the team and then repeat what I'd learned under supervision. Over time I was able to work alone more and more. The job involves all kinds of skills and a great deal of technical knowledge including colour matching, painting and polishing. There's also MET - mechanical electrical trim - to be mastered, which involves stripping and fitting electrical components. The majority of the work we do is part of the repair process following accidents, but we also do some restoration projects. Job sizes vary enormously, depending on the individual requirements of each vehicle.

How does apprenticeship training work in practice?

"A vocational coach from Babcock would visit me every couple of weeks to observe what I'd learned. They would watch me as I worked during a normal working day, assessing my progress as I completed units for my qualifications. I also went to the Ruddington centre; around seventeen times altogether during my apprenticeship. The bulk of the work there was in the classroom. The classroom and workplace elements go together well, but I'm happier at work. I find I learn more when I'm actually doing it, hands on. "

Do you have any advice for someone who's thinking of starting out on an automotive apprenticeship?

"If you're thinking of getting into this career I'd say it's worth studying all aspects of the job before choosing to specialise. They're all quite different and there are different technical skills required for each. I really enjoy working on polishing. It's the final stage that makes the vehicle look great and it's really satisfying to see that finished product."