City of Bristol College has a strong working partnership with DAF Trucks UK – one of the countries leading lorry and heavy goods vehicle manufacturers. For more than 20 years, the college and DAF have worked in partnership to run apprenticeship programmes out of its highly specialist Motor Vehicle Centre at Parkway.
The college’s DAF apprentices put their knowledge to the test in a two-day-long Apprentice of the Year competition in December.
The competition has been running since 1997 and coincides with the DAF Graduation Awards evening. The top 10 students from each of the three years were invited to compete in a series of practical and theory tests to determine who the top three were in each year.
DAF team leader at City of Bristol College, Luke Reid, said the competition was designed to ‘inspire’ students and give them a ‘sense of ambition and pride’ which is reinforced through the ethos of the DAF Difference: Performance, Service and Passion.
The students will have their achievement displayed on the walls of the college, their dealership and at the DAF Trucks UK headquarters in Haddenham.
Luke added: “The competition went well this year and is the first year the event has run over two days. This gave a more relaxed feel to allow the students to carry out their tasks.”
In the evening, students, employers and assessors gathered at the Celtic Manor near Newport for the DAF Graduation Awards ceremony, which went ‘like clockwork’ according to Luke with 87 graduates achieving their qualification during the evening.
The winners were as follows:
1st Elliot Dinnage
2nd Joe Drummond
3rd Ross Strain
1st Thomas Sykes
2nd Aaron Wild
3rd Ben Mitchell
1st Daniel Rayfield
2nd Matthew Hands
3rd Matthew Shannon
Business Services Manager at DAF Trucks UK, Adam Russell, said: “The relationship between ourselves and the college is very strong. We have four different partners including ourselves and the college. Between us we challenge each other to improve the programme to make sure we get the best apprentices.
“The concept of the awards is about recognition for our students. There is a big shortage of technicians out in the network and in the automotive industry so we need to make a fuss about the guys and install a ‘bit of DAF’ into them from the start.
“They really are the most important people – we want to sell the trucks and we need the experienced workforce to be able to take care of the trucks to keep the customer happy.”
The event also saw the handing over of two new Euro 6 vehicles for training at the college by the next cohort of students. Emma Jarman, Vice Principal – Curriculum and Quality, thanked DAF Trucks UK for their kind donation.