GTG Apprentice Jaspreet Rai wins at Glasgow Modern Apprentice Awards
23 June 2017
Jaspreet Rai was recognised at the Glasgow Modern Apprenticeship Awards 2017, which took place at Trades Hall Glasgow on 6th June. Apprentices from multiple industries were invited in recognition of their hard work, with eight finalists competing for Apprentice of the Year. Honoured guests included Lord Provost Eva Bolander and The Trades House Deacon Convener, Keith Brown.
Although Jaspreet didn’t take the top prize, he was presented with a special award on the night for Overcoming Difficulties. This award, sponsored by the Royal Philosophical Society for Scotland, was given following Jaspreet’s long struggle to find work after gaining his college qualifications.
After writing to every dealership to try and get his dream job as a vehicle technician, he finally managed to get work experience at Harry Fairbairn. He told us, ‘When I started, I had my qualifications from college but I didn’t have experience, so I found it really difficult finding a job. Harry Fairbairn let me come in for work experience and I liked it so much that I asked to be kept for another week and then another, until eventually they offered me a job.’
He spent the next three years as a vehicle technician apprentice, learning on the floor at Harry Fairbairn and training at GTG. He worked closely with his mentor, John Murphy, who isn’t surprised at the recognition Jaspreet has received. He said: ‘He deserves it because he’s worked hard for it. He’s probably the best apprentice that I’ve ever seen. He’s switched on all the time and that’s what you need if you want to be the best. He’s enthusiastic and willing to listen, which is difficult for a lot of apprentices, but not for him. He’s on his way and the sky’s the limit.’
The winner of Apprentice of the Year was Daniel Bar, apprentice at PBR Services, who took the first prize of £1000 and an inscribed quaich. Jaspreet was impressed by the hard work and dedication of his peers saying, ‘It’s great to be nominated for an award, never mind shortlisted. There were people from all different trades and it was great to see all sorts of young people doing well and being recognised for it.’
Jaspreet is now a qualified vehicle technician but has ambitions to go further with the strong foundations provided by his apprenticeship. ‘I want to work my way up to become a BMW certified technician, then going forward to a senior technician and then a master technician.’
Find out more about our apprenticeship programmes.
GTG West Midlands leads the way for employers with ‘Apprenticeships – A New World for Employers’ event
23 May 2017
GTG West Midlands is inviting employers from the local area to a free event to share expert advice about the recent changes to apprenticeship funding, and discuss what they could mean for employers.
‘Apprenticeships ¬– A New World for Employers’ takes place on Tuesday 6th June and will help businesses learn how to make the most of the new opportunities available. At GTG Training, we have more than 40 years’ experience in training apprentices, placing them within businesses and supporting them with the practical and academic skills they need to gain their qualifications.
A changing landscape for business
2017 has seen a number of changes to the way apprenticeships are run. The government has imposed a new tax – known as the Apprenticeship Levy – on all businesses with a wage bill higher than £3 million. Businesses in England can then gain access to funding to help pay for apprenticeships. While this has been planned for some time, many employers are not fully prepared to take advantage of this funding and do not yet have the infrastructure to properly manage and train apprentices.
New standards for apprentices
In addition, new standards have been brought in replacing the old apprenticeship frameworks. These standards define the learning requirements that apprentices must meet. Standards were defined by expert groups of employers known as Trailblazers, who have knowledge of the specific skills and job roles required within their sector. This means that all apprentices will be educated to the same level and that they will be able to make a strong contribution to every business.
The right credentials
GTG has decades of experience in training apprentices in our leading-edge facilities, across a range of disciplines. Recently, we have been added to the new government Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers, which means we are approved to provide apprenticeships to levy-paying employer partners.
Learn from the experts
Our event will feature a number of expert speakers led by training specialist Beej Kaczmarczyk, who’ll be joined by education expert Julie Gibson, and Managing Director of Colourful Solutions Bob ‘Kaz’ Kaczmarczyk. On the day, you’ll find out more about how to gain access to funding, and the role your business can play in helping the government meet its targets for three million apprenticeship placements by 2020.
Don’t miss out on this opportunity. Find out more about this event and register here.
GTG to host Prince’s Trust Get into Cars programme
2 May 2017
GTG will be training candidates as part of the Prince’s Trust Get into Cars scheme, in association with Arnold Clark.
This initiative, which has been running since 2009, invites applications from candidates aged 16-25 who are not currently in education, work or training and are keen to gain experience within the automotive sector.
Candidates will spend four weeks at GTG’s Glasgow automotive training centre where they’ll receive expert tuition in car mechanics and learn various aspects of the job, including tyre fitting, valeting and vehicle maintenance.
Allan Watt, Director of Prince’s Trust Scotland said: ‘Thanks to our work with Arnold Clark, we are able to give even more young people the chance to get the skills and experience they need to break into the car and mechanics industry.’
The Prince’s Trust Scotland is committed to supporting disadvantaged and unemployed young people into work, education and business. Our ‘Get into’ programme brings together employers and The Prince’s Trust to offer courses in everything from cooking and construction to logistics and retail. We would love to hear from any young person who wants to find out what opportunities we can offer to help them achieve their goals.’
Following the training, the students will then spend two weeks working in an Arnold Clark branch, gaining experience of the working environment and applying their newly-acquired skills to real world situations.
If this experience helps the candidates decide to further their automotive career, they can apply for a Mechanical Apprenticeship at GTG and – due to their participation in the programme – they will be guaranteed an interview. Since the Get into Cars scheme was launched, more than 100 people have taken this opportunity and built a career within the automotive industry.
This year, there are 13 places available within the scheme which runs between 17th August and 24th July. All applications must be received by Sunday 7th of May.
To register your interest or for more information, contact our recruitment team on 0141 435 4490 or email email@example.com.
The basics of managing people
30 March 2017
Management can be a challenging role. It means creating a strategy to efficiently achieve a goal and then planning, organising and implementing that strategy. The most vital component in management is the team you build to deliver your plan. You have to be at the core of everything they do – motivating, organising and monitoring to ensure they pull together to deliver the desired result. In order to manage people, you’ll need to master a range of proficiencies.
Planning is paramount
Before any work begins, full scoping and planning must be done. No matter what your project management methodology, it’s vital to have key milestones so all relevant parties understand precisely what they have to achieve and on which timescales. No matter how well you plan, you can’t foresee every obstacle, so create contingencies at every stage and even build in possible delays to your proposal.
While we all want to get things done ‘as soon as possible’, it’s helpful to everyone involved to have realistic deadlines. Breaking a project down into smaller stages with multiple deadlines makes more sense than rushing towards a single end goal without proper coordination.
Management means putting the right people in the right positions and giving them tasks that they are best placed to complete as effectively and efficiently as possible. It’s vital to know the strengths of your team and provide each member with exciting challenges. It can be difficult to let go of control, but utilising individuals with the right experience and a proven track record can provide assurance that you’ll accomplish your desired outcome.
Ensure that everyone knows exactly what is expected of them, and create an environment in which the team can work together to achieve their goals. Always be there to answer questions and provide guidance. It’s always better that your co-workers get the right answers than wasting time with niggling doubts about doing the wrong thing.
Be an effective communicator
People cannot deliver your vision without clear communication. You must learn to use the skills at your disposal to get your message across – whether you choose presentations, meetings, one-to-one conversations or phone conferences. Ensure everyone knows how they fit into the bigger picture, rather than just focussing on one small area.
As an effective communicator, one of the most important things you can do is to listen. You want to make your team more efficient, so let them tell you what they need to get better and achieve more. Also ensure everyone working on a project is able to communicate with each other. This could mean moving desks or organising regular catch-ups.
Management means knowing what is happening at every stage of the project. While you cannot be involved in every intricate detail, you should take a broad overview and get involved in the finer points and key stages. During any project, you may find that you need to reallocate resources, change your approach or even find a Plan B. Nothing will ever go completely to plan, but by monitoring, you have the opportunity to implement contingencies and keep the workflow moving smoothly.
Would you like to know more? Gain further insights by taking our Managing People course.
GTG hosts open days for National Apprenticeship Week 2017
21 March 2017
GTG Training hosted open days at all three of their training centres during National Apprenticeship Week and Scottish Apprenticeship Week. These events served as the perfect opportunity for school pupils considering their futures to find out more about what Modern Apprenticeships can offer.
The quality of training from GTG was clear to see, with new apprentices seamlessly integrating with their more experienced colleagues as they learned their trade. There were further opportunities to see this at the GTG open days.
The events were open to anyone over the age of 16, with busloads of interested school groups and individuals turning up to see first hand the opportunities available at GTG locations in Glasgow, Edinburgh and the West Midlands. There they had the chance to see the classrooms in action, as well as walking through the workshop to watch apprentices as they learned their trades as motor vehicle technicians, body repairers and vehicle finishers.
Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn, MSP attended the GTG Glasgow event.
He said: ‘I’m absolutely blown away by the scale of the operation here. There’s a very impressive range of opportunities here at this training centre and that reflects my experience of many organisations. Sometimes you go in with the assumption that there will be a limited number of careers, but it’s very clear there’s a whole raft of opportunities for young people to get ahead in the company.’
The events were a great success, with more than 1,500 potential apprentices in attendance across the three locations.
Suzanne Sherry, Apprentice Recruitment Manager at GTG Training said, ‘The open day offers young people and their families the opportunity to meet face-to-face with the experienced and supportive staff at GTG Training and see our leading-edge facilities for themselves. We pride ourselves on offering young people alternative further education opportunities that will benefit their career prospects.’
As well as seeing the facilities, visitors were given the opportunity to talk to the apprentices and gain some insights into what’s involved in their schedule, as well as to learn about the benefits of apprenticeships. Current apprentices were happy to share their experiences with the next generation.
Elisha Fitzpatrick, Apprentice Vehicle Technician at Arnold Clark, was full of praise for her trainers, saying: ‘You work with a mentor every day so you’re learning a lot from them since they’re an experienced mechanic. After the three years, you’re a qualified mechanic so even if you don’t get kept on in a branch you can go somewhere else with your qualifications.’
Ross Lundie, Apprentice Assure Alarm Engineer, spoke of the benefits of an apprenticeship: ‘You’re learning a skill that you can take anywhere in the world and you get paid whilst you’re doing it. The training’s great and we come here to GTG one week in every seven. You’re assessed after every outcome so you do it in a step-by-step process rather than an end-of-year exam.’
Scottish Apprenticeship Week is organised by Skills Development Scotland and National Apprenticeship Week is organised by the National Apprenticeship Service. The 2017 events ran from 6th –10th March.
Find out more about apprenticeships at GTG.
MSP Clare Haughey meets GTG apprentices for Scottish Apprenticeship Week
08 March 2017
To mark the beginning of Scottish Apprenticeship Week, Clare Haughey, MSP, visited Arnold Clark’s Rutherglen branch to meet some of GTG’s apprentices and find out more about the difference that apprenticeships make to individuals and the business.
The Member of the Scottish Parliament for Rutherglen was shown around the facilities by management staff and was given the opportunity to talk to apprentices working in various areas of the business, including servicing, parts and retail.
Speaking of the visit, Clare said: ‘I am pleased to be visiting Arnold Clark at the start of Modern Apprenticeship Week. Arnold Clark has provided thousands of modern apprenticeships over the past ten years and is to be commended for their commitment to the development of skills in the automotive industry. I would encourage all businesses to think about how their business could benefit from taking on an apprentice.’
Ian Taylor, Group Operations Manager, GTG Training said: 'As the training provider for Arnold Clark, GTG Training is delighted that Clare Haughey MSP has decided to visit apprentices at this branch as part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week. The apprentices continuously work hard to ensure they have the knowledge and skills that will benefit their careers and I am very proud to see them thriving in a real-life working environment.’
Modern apprenticeships give young people the opportunity to earn while they learn, dividing their time between the workplace and training centre, as they get experience within the workplace while gaining a recognised qualification.
The apprentices were also full of praise for the initiative. Greg Hefti, first year parts apprentice, said: ‘I only recently started at the beginning of January so I’m still learning the ropes as such, but everything I’ve learned so far has been excellent. It’s a very easy application process. When I went to GTG for my interview, I was told that it’s not just a job, it’s a career and that’s something to keep you motivated.'
Ryan Dunn, third-year workshop apprentice added: ‘I’m almost reaching the end of my apprenticeship now, and it has been a great experience. Some of it has been quite challenging and difficult; I just finished my portfolio last week so was glad to get that done, it was a long process, but it feels great to have completed that part. Every day’s a school day and you’re learning new things all the time between GTG and in the workshop itself.’
Scottish Apprenticeship Week is an annual event organised by Skills Development Scotland to highlight the benefits of apprenticeships to businesses, individuals and the economy as a whole. The 2016 event runs from 6th–10th March and GTG Training is hosting open days at their training centres in order to provide information and help potential candidates take the next step in their career.
Find out more about apprenticeships at GTG.
What happens after an apprenticeship?
27th February 2017
An apprenticeship can be a hugely positive experience. It allows you to gain experience of the workplace, learn new skills and benefit from the knowledge of an accomplished mentor. While it’s a great first step into a new career, your time as an apprentice will pass quickly. It’s important to know your options so you can make an informed decision about the next steps.
Remain with your employer in a new role
The perfect end to an apprenticeship is the offer of a full time job with the opportunity to build upon the skills you have learned and transform them into a new career. This will provide added security, but outside the framework of an apprenticeship, it will also mean more responsibility. The best workplaces will support their staff and help them develop along a set career pathway, providing clear goals to help you reach your potential.
Find a different job
Following your apprenticeship, you are under no obligation to stay with the company, just as they are under no obligation to offer you a full time job. There are potentially a number of companies who will be looking to employ and develop graduate apprentices. You can apply for a job directly and the government offer a job search, which offers a wide range of opportunities. Recruitment agencies can also be helpful in matching talented individuals with those looking for new recruits.
Take on another apprenticeship
An apprenticeship is just the first step on the career ladder and you might feel that further opportunities at a higher level would be beneficial to your career. Your training provider may be able to help place you in a new apprenticeship or advise you on the next steps to take.
Pursue further education
During an apprenticeship, you may discover that you value academic learning and wish to pursue further education. There are a number of options open to you, from college courses to university degrees. In order to get into further education, you’ll have to register and apply through UCAS. This can be an intimidating prospect but they have systems in place to advise you on the most suitable courses and to help with the application process. UCAS take both your experience and your qualifications into account, and you will have gained UCAS points through your apprenticeship.
Prepare for something new
There is a chance that after an apprenticeship, you may realise you do not want to pursue the career path it offers. Through your apprenticeship you will have gained many transferrable skills that will provide an added edge in the jobs market. Before you make your next move, it’s best to work out exactly what you want to do. You may seek out careers advice and the National Careers Service is a good place to start. They provide a wide range of advice and guidance to help you in the job market, from creating a good CV to improving your interview technique.
Find out more about the benefits of apprenticeships at GTG.
The apprentice recruitment process
8th February 2017
The recruitment process for apprenticeships will vary according to the course you choose. Some will require you to complete aptitude tests in order to see if you are suitable for the apprenticeship programme.
Vehicle Technician Apprenticeship Programme (mechanical)
- You will be invited to GTG Training to complete a 40-minute basic literacy and numeracy test. You will not be able to take a calculator or dictionary into the test with you.
- If you are successful in the tests a member of the recruitment team will then interview you.
- Provided you are successful at the interview stage you will then need to carry out a two-hour practical test.
- Finally, if you pass the practical test, the hiring manager will interview you.
Body Repair & Vehicle Refinisher Apprenticeships
- You will be invited to GTG Training to complete a 40-minute basic literacy and numeracy test. You will not be able to take a calculator or dictionary into the test with you.
- If you pass the tests this will be followed up by an interview with a member of the recruitment team.
- The final stage is a one-week work trial and an interview with the hiring manager.
Motor Vehicle Parts Person Apprenticeship
- If you pass the tests this will be followed up by an interview with a member of the recruitment team.
- Provided you are successful at the first interview there will be a second interview with the hiring manager.
Warehouse, Business Admin and Customer Service Apprenticeships
- You will be asked to come in for an interview with a member of the recruitment team.
- If you do well at your first interview you will have a second interview with the hiring manager.
How to prepare for the aptitude tests
There are plenty of practice tests online if you are not confident in test situations. The more you prepare the better you will feel about passing. A few we found to be useful were Developing Your Potential and Practice Aptitude Tests.
We do give extra time to candidates with special needs, however we would need a letter from the school or doctor to confirm the exact requirements i.e. how much extra time is needed.
On the day make sure you turn up in plenty of time and with the items you will need, listed below.
How to prepare for the interviews
Make sure you know exactly where you are going and how long it takes to get there. You can find the addresses for all three of our centres on our contact page. You don’t want to be flustered or rushing around getting there. You should dress smartly as you would for any other job interview; you want to make a good impression.
You should bring with you
- A copy of your school qualifications
- A pen in order to write the test
- A copy of documented proof of your national insurance number
- Proof of identity such as a driving licence or passport
Classic cars return to GTG ahead of the Monte Carlo Classic Rally
27th January 2017
These classic cars were scrutineered by apprentices before heading for the start line at Paisley
Apprentices enjoy the opportunity to assess some classic cars. The GTG apprentices got the chance to get under the bonnets of some classic cars as the workshop welcomed 20 cars that were undergoing final preparations for the 2017 Monte Carlo Classic Rally.
The vehicles were hosted at GTG as they underwent the process of scrutineering – checking they comply with all the technical regulations of the rally to ensure safety and fair play. Apprentices were on hand to help the drivers and ensure that every mechanical need was met, although these are nothing like the typical cars they work on.
Mechanic Daniel Kerr took part in the scrutineering and said: ‘These cars are absolutely gorgeous. I’ve always had a love for old cars so it’s a pleasure to even be next to a car like this and even more so to be able to work on one. It’s entirely different to working on a modern car ¬– it’s just a raw car. There’s nothing electrical in there so it’s a driver’s feel and a driver’s car.’
Classic cars undergoing scrutineering included:
- 1930 Austin 7 Ulster Two-seater Sports
- 1952 MG YB
- 1964 Rover 2000
- 1968 Sunbeam Stiletto
- 1974 Fiat 124 Coupé
- 1977 Ford Escort RS2000 X Pack Mk2
Following their inspections, the cars went on to join 80 others on the start line at the steps of Paisley Abbey. This is the fifth time in a row that the city has staged the event and was the only starting point in the UK with other European host cities including Barcelona, Stockholm and Lisbon.
There are multiple classes taking part in the rally, which will take competitors through the Alps on the 1,300-mile drive to Monte Carlo. Historique cars (which participated in the rally between 1955 and 1980) will face 14 testing stages, while the older Classique cars will have a gentler but just as challenging drive through a series of control points.
David A Glen is a veteran of the rally and knows the importance of a well-maintained car. He told us, ‘The last two years we’ve done it in a Triumph Dolomite Sprint but we ran out of breaks, road and talent last year and unfortunately that car was written off. We’ve been recommissioning this Ford Escort since March and we finally got it finished on Saturday.’
The Monte Carlo rally scrutineering has become a tradition at GTG and is one of the highlights for apprentices and staff alike.
Ian Taylor, Group Operations Manager at GTG Training said: ‘It's wonderful to once again have the Monte Carlo Rally cars at GTG Training. Our apprentices look forward to the scrutineering and working with the cars gives them fantastic, hands-on experience. We wish all cars and drivers taking part this year the very best of luck.’
Find out more about our automotive training courses.
Tips for creating unforgettable presentations
17th January 2017
Presenting is one of the most important business skills you can learn. With a good presentation you can put across an idea, win buy-in from your colleagues, or make that all-important sale. There’s far more to a good presentation than simply standing in front of people and talking. It’s all about utilising your voice, style and visual aids to fully engage your audience. Here are some tips to ensure you create concise and captivating presentations.
Understand the needs of your audience
Knowing exactly who you addressing, the expectations of your audience and the context of the presentation will help you set its tone and duration. How you deliver a vital sales pitch in a boardroom will differ significantly from how you talk to your staff in a briefing. If you do not find the right tone of voice, you won’t be able to effectively communicate your points. If you use humour in a serious meeting, you won’t be taken seriously. If you are too dull when trying to engage with a new audience, you’ll fail to captivate their attention. It’s a balancing act, but always keep the needs of your audience in mind when creating any presentation.
Audiences are usually willing to listen when you begin, so take advantage of that attention and captivate them. Your presentation should remain relevant to your topic but you could frame something in a new way or even try to entertain if the audience is receptive. Do not try to shock or say something controversial just to get a response, as this could damage your credibility.
A presentation is far more than just the words in your script – it should comprise the sum of everything you know about a topic. You should have knowledge to back up your claims and you should anticipate any questions that may be asked. If it appears that you only know what’s on the page in front of you, your audience will have no reason to believe anything that you say.
Learn how to use your voice
Do you know how you sound when you deliver a presentation? It’s definitely worth taking an audio recording of your public speaking and listening back. One of the most common problems when speaking in public is talking too fast. You may sound very different to how you expected but by knowing how you sound and modifying your speech patterns, you can be far more measured in your delivery. Your voice is your most powerful tool during a presentation, so be sure you know how to change its dynamic and help make key messages stand out.
Use positive body language
If you can’t relax during your presentation, your audience won’t either. Standing up in front of people can be stressful but by practising your stance as well as your words, appearing at ease will become second nature. Avoid putting your hands in your pockets or folding your arms and remember to smile and make plenty of eye contact.
Keep visuals engaging
PowerPoint is a great tool for creating visuals but its overuse has perhaps lessened its effectiveness. If you are making slides, make sure that they are visually engaging and further illustrate your point rather than just being there for the sake of it. Also try to avoid large paragraphs of text – an engaged audience should be listening to what you are saying, not struggling to read words on a screen. Where appropriate, use video animation to enhance your point. Using different media helps your audience stay connected to your presentation, but it should never overshadow what you are saying.
You may think that you sound more intelligent when you use more words, but you can risk alienating your audience. People are busy and have short attention spans, so the best way to keep their attention is to be clear. That doesn’t mean that you should talk down to them, but it always helps to remember the key points that you want to make and state them in the simplest way possible. People respond well to stories, so illustrate your point with real world examples – but try to avoid going off on tangents that will distract from the main drive of your presentation.
To maximise your presentation skills, book onto our Presentation Survival course.
How to create an amazing event on a budget
6th January 2017
Keeping to a budget is important when planning any event, so it’s a good idea to record all expenses – even small ones – as these can add up.
Give yourself plenty of time to arrange all the elements that make up planning an event. This will make it easier to stick to your budget and maintain a spreadsheet of expenses. If you start early enough then you will have time to shop around for suppliers, and by comparing various quotes you can choose the supplier that will give you the most for your budget. Find out what other services suppliers offer – they may be able to give you a better deal if you are hiring them for several services. Negotiate with suppliers on cost, too.
Create digital invitations
The creation and distribution of print invitations can be expensive. A more budget-friendly alternative would be to send an email with a link to an RSVP on your website. Or, if you can’t do that, there are even free apps that you can use to send out invitations and get replies. If your potential attendees are on social media, such as Facebook, you could even set up the event invitations through social media.
Food and beverages
Food can be one of the biggest expenses when holding an event, so you may consider a buffet or canapés – they are less expensive than a sit-down meal and can also be left out for guests to serve themselves, so you won’t have to pay to hire servers either. If you are providing alcohol at your event, ask your supplier if they offer a sale or return deal, then you won’t have to pay for what you don’t need.
Be sensible when choosing your venue. Think about the size of the room you will need, as the number of people you expect to attend will stipulate this.
Some event venues include an event organiser who will help you get everything in order for your big day. Consider if your venue can provide this and if there is an added cost.
Are there digital screens you can use instead of providing programmes in print form? This will be cheaper than designing and printing programmes or menus that will be used during the event.
You may also need to consider equipment hire such as projectors, white boards and stationery, as well as catering and décor – are these provided and do they come at an additional cost?
Create a playlist and manage it yourself rather than hire someone to do the music. Venues will usually have a sound system that will easily link up to an mp3, phone or computer with your playlist.
Who do you know?
Do you have any contacts who could help you with a discounted service, perhaps people who you could help in return at a later date? Scour your contact list to see who might fit the bill. Can you arrange sponsorship of some sort from local businesses? Would they provide their services for free or at a discounted rate in order to have their name connected to the event and promote their service?
Have a contingency budget
You should allow for 10–15% of your budget as a contingency budget, just in case there are added charges or if something unexpected crops up.
Find out more about GTG conference and facilities hire.