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Celebrating DAF Trucks apprenticeship for National Apprenticeship Week

Last week was National Apprenticeship Week, and what better way to celebrate our fantastic apprentices than to highlight one of our largest apprenticeship employers, DAF Trucks.

City of Bristol College trains the nation’s DAF apprentices, leading more than 300 apprentices through the three-year study programme to prepare them for a future of working for the country’s leading heavy goods vehicle providers.

We take learners from across the England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland at our Motor Vehicle Technology Centre at Parkway and teach them everything they need to know to be able to repair, monitor and service the trucks which deliver goods internationally.

The learners are given the opportunity to work in a purpose-built workshop complete with more than 10 trucks of varying sizes and shapes (which you can see for yourself in the virtual tour).

The trucks, which have been donated to us by DAF Trucks, create the perfect setting for the apprentices to complete their 20 per cent classroom-based learning where they concentrate on learning the skills, knowledge and behaviours required for their apprenticeship.

When the learners are on-site at their dealership, the education reins are handed over to Skillnet, who focus on the workplace assessment, mentoring the apprentice and recruiting them to their role and the programme. The partnership is all about collaboration, with City of Bristol College, DAF Trucks and Skillnet work closely together to ensure the best experience for the apprentices who study with them.

We allow learners to complete their on-site studies in flexible blocks, allowing the learner and the dealership to work hand-in-hand with us to complete their apprenticeship in a timely and convenient manner.

To make the process even more convenient, we have successfully run a Homestay programme for the past 25 years, currently holding 40 host families on our books. Homestay offers learners a secure home environment while completing their ‘block release’ at City of Bristol College.

Homestay Co-ordinator, Maria Gonzalez, said the programme is especially helpful for under 18-year olds. She added: “It provides them with a home away from home with adults who support their studies both in College, and in their homes. Many of our learners do miss home, especially on their first block when it is their first time away from home. Our Homestay programme gives them a support system, a sense of belonging and many almost become a second family to our learners.”

Through the Homestay project and the DAF partnership, learners are bused in and out of College during their block release and provided with daily lunchtime hot meals to help fuel their learning.

Veteran Homestay host, Nancy Fisher, said: “If you need extra income and company it’s a very good thing to do as it will fill your life with happiness. I have been hosting City of Bristol College for 18 years and have thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Head of Department for Motor Vehicle and DAF Apprenticeship, Luke Reid, said: “It is a well-established programme which has been working hand-in-hand with our partners for a number of years – this includes more than 25 years with DAF Trucks and more than 10 years with Skillnet. This has allowed us to provide real education and jobs for learners into the workplace, some of which are now managing directors of companies and service managers within the industry.

DAF apprentices have seen great success on the competition platform also, winning a number of awards, including the most recent silver and bronze podium positions at the WorldSkills UK National Finals and a silver award for the Apprenticeship Programme of the Year at The Learning Awards in 2021– narrowly missing out to the ambulance service.

Former apprentice turned Managing Director, Tom Osbourne, said: “The apprenticeship has given me a fantastic platform for my career to date. I have always been a great advocate of the DAF Apprenticeship Programme, it does so much to help the development of enthusiastic, hardworking young people who want to achieve, gain good qualifications and set themselves up for a rewarding life-long career.”

City of Bristol College is still seeking more Homestay providers in and around the Bristol Parkway area. If you are able and willing to take part, please contact Maria on maria.gonzalez@cityofbristol.ac.uk or call 0117 312 2081.

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