For the first time, Ford has made its internal Ford Masters Apprenticeship Programme (FMAP) available to industry customers with Northgate Vehicle Hire selected as the first partner.
Northgate Vehicle Hire has taken on 35 apprentices who will complete a three-year programme combining hands-on workshop training at the company’s centres with block release for training and study at Ford Colleges.
Historically, apprentices were recruited locally by the nationwide network of 20 local hire companies, which made up the Northgate Group. However, this year’s rebranding of the entire network as Northgate Vehicle Hire has resulted in the launching of the company’s first national apprentice programme.
Ford says that the innovative new approach to training provision and developing key skills in the supply chain marks a radical move to offering better technical and mechanical support for its customers.
Apprentices will work across Northgate Vehicle Hire’s Ford vehicle fleet to maintain its efficiency and make sure all cars and vans are working to the highest standards.
The Ford Masters Apprenticeship Programme is managed and co-ordinated on behalf of the manufacturer by specialist automotive training provider Skillnet Limited.
Ian Dunn, Northgate Vehicle Hire’s group training manager, has been working with Skillnet over the past year to bring the apprenticeship programme into fruition for Northgate.
He said: “To continue to develop and be the best in the industry, it is essential that we invest in developing young people as they are the future of our business.
“By partnering with such a prestigious and respected training partner as the FMAP we know we will get the high quality support we need and we will be better able to react to the changing vehicle demands that we face.
“The new apprenticeship scheme marks the first time that Northgate Vehicle Hire has partnered with a motor manufacturer and is the first time that an apprenticeship scheme has had a national focus for the company.
“However, following the rebranding of the company our centres will now request apprentices through the Group and we anticipate recruiting other youngsters to complete comprehensive training programmes in the future.”
Stuart Harris, Ford College strategy and integration manager, said: “We are delighted to be working with a customer like Northgate Vehicle Hire. This is the first time we have opened up our training programme to an industry client, which is a major move for the programme, but one that I feel will have endless benefits for our customers and also the scheme.
“Northgate Vehicle Hire’s dedication to wanting to train the best technicians in the industry inevitably coincides with our aims. We look forward to working closely with the company to train the technicians of tomorrow. The training apprentices receive through the FMAP will significantly contribute to the future prosperity and dynamism of the business.”