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Ford names 2007 dealer apprentices of the year

(from easier motoring)

Ford's top four trainees from its dealer network have been crowned apprentices of the year after a gruelling competition at the company's training college.

Ford's Masters Apprenticeship Programme is the largest of any vehicle manufacturer in the UK and trains 1,150 dealer employees. Battling it out at Henry Ford College, in Loughborough, were 10 service apprentices who were set a variety of technical and customer service tasks.

Overall Ford Masters Apprentice of the Year was 20-year-old commercial vehicle technician Kirk Ross from Bathgate, near Livingstone in Scotland. Kirk is employed by AM Phillip Trucktech Ltd.

Kirk said: "I am really happy to have won. My apprenticeship has given me the opportunity to show what I can do in an industry I enjoy. The level of training and support was great and I am delighted to have started my career with Ford at AM Phillip."

Skills tested on the day included mechanical, electrical and information retrieval using Ford's latest diagnostic equipment. There was also a role play exercise, with apprentices manning a service reception.

Other categories were won by Glen Ringe, 21, of Gates Stevenage (sales); 20-year-old Simon Martin from John Grose of Lowestoft (bodyshop); and Martin Nachen, 21, from Heartlands Ford, Birmingham (parts).

Awards presenter and Ford of Britain chairman, Roelant de Waard, highlighted Ford’s commitment to apprenticeships: “This competition demonstrates the high quality of apprentices coming through the ranks in the Ford dealer network, which will help Ford’s future as a leading vehicle brand for customer service.

“Ford and its dealers have been providing and supporting apprenticeship schemes for over 70 years. Young people trained in new skills are vital in enabling our dealer network to meet the increasingly sophisticated technological demands of the automotive industry.”

Winners will be guests of the Ford BP World Rally Team at November's Rally GB in Wales. In addition each competitor was rewarded with associate membership of the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) and tool vouchers.

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