IN THE first open-day event of its kind, a motor company has reached out to youngsters across the area in the hope they will be encouraged to enter into apprenticeships with them in the future.
The Apollo Academy Open Day was organised by the Apollo Motor Group, based in Portsmouth, and saw 51 children with an interest in the motor industry attend, to find out about the possibility of doing work experience with the company.
Apollo is a bodywork damage crash repair centre, and arranged for the youngsters and their parents to meet suppliers and enjoy interactive stands and activities.
Bradley Eyles, 23, is the group commercial analyst for Apollo Motor Group – he also oversees the Apollo Academy.
He said: ‘We’re offering Year 9s a taster experience within our business, for a youngster who knows they like cars for example, but who doesn’t know what area of the workshop they want to be in.
‘They can come in and do one day in each of our departments, to see what they like most.
‘Then in Year 10, for their two-week compulsory work experience, they can come back to us and that time will be more beneficial to them because they will have already worked with us.’
The group is working with Springfield School, Admiral Lord Nelson, and is in the process of becoming an employer partner with UTC Portsmouth.
Mr Eyles added: ‘The youngsters can have a go at stripping and re-fitting a car, different welding activities, and painting different body parts of the cars.
‘After the two weeks, providing they have impressed us, the workers will then be invited for an interview.
‘Depending on the availability across our 15 sites in the south east, we can give them a conditional apprenticeship offer for when they finish school.’
Luxury vehicles were on display at the open day in Fitzherbert Road, including an Aston Martin, Jaguar, Tesla and a Ferrari.
The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Portsmouth, Councillor Ken Ellcome and Jo Ellcome, also attended.
Children were able to have a go at painting a car panel and mixing up the colours.
Bobby Singh was at the event with his wife and two children, including his son, who is interested in doing work experience at the company.
Bobby said: ‘Apollo is a reputable company we’ve been recommended to research by UTC Portsmouth, where my son goes.
‘He has a passion for cars, engineering and the technical side of things, and I’m pleased with what we’ve seen at this event.’
Connor Peterson, from Gosport, is two years into his three-year apprenticeship with the company, as a strip fitter.
The 17-year-old said: ‘It’s been really good working here.
‘I’d like to stay on, it’s a good trade to get into so I’d recommend it to others.’