TEN is the magic number

TEN new apprentices are now geared up ready to start their career with AW Repair Group.

Following the success of AW’s Apprentice Showcase Event in November, ten eager youngsters who attended the event have now been appointed and started on their apprenticeship journey.

The new recruits who, had been at their posts for just five days, recently gathered together to enjoy an introduction day at AW’s Nottingham site. They were able to meet each other, talk to last year’s apprentices and were introduced to the company’s ethos and philosophies by Managing Director Andrew Walsh.

“Key to key, cycle time and average repair cost are phrases you will come to hear frequently,” Andrew told the young people. “We spend the insurance company’s money for them so we have to spend it wisely. Our brand is well known and we protect it; we are proud of what we do and what we have achieved. You have been chosen to join the AW Apprentice Academy, it will be like joining a new big family, and given a great opportunity. Now it’s over to you.”

Ian Pearson, who will be administratively mentoring the apprentices within AW added: “You have been given tablets to record and evidence your progress and you will be creating a portfolio for each module. There’s a lot of change in this industry, we are now entering the hybrid era, with lots of opportunity and you have a great future here.”

Jake, Artur, Summer, Thomas, Jamie, Bradleigh, Hegert, Owen, Declan and Jacob will be working across the group’s 8 sites and follow on from the 2018 apprentice intake boosting AW’s Training and Apprenticeship Academy to 19 recruits.

The young people each received their corporate blue and orange uniform, personnel handbook and electronic tablet, AW branded satchel, plus the added bonus of tooling vouchers to get their beginner toolbox started.

James Dunn, Group Operations Manager for AW Repair Group: “It’s encouraging to see how many young people are interested in the vehicle repair industry, we have some really engaging and inspiring young people with us who are eager to learn and ultimately repair cars. Having provided each apprentice with a senior technician as their hands-on mentor, we are giving them all the support and guidance they need in order to succeed.”

The 18-20 year olds will be completing their multi-skilled apprenticeship at Emtec College, Nottingham, where they will have their own independent AW class, learning the disciplines of panel, paint and MET. The three-year course incorporates six 1-week training block release classes per year where the apprentices will learn elements of MET (Mechanical, Electrical & Trim) initially, followed by panel and finally paint.

“We invest in our apprentices and provide them with all the support they need to make it work and we are really looking forward to watching their careers progress and grow with AW and taking forward all the opportunities that arise,” added Andrew.

 

PPG support AW Apprentices

 

In November eight of our current apprentices who are following the multi-skilled apprenticeship route attended PPG training centre in Stowmarket for a two-day hands-on paint experience.

Our apprentices who range from 17-20 all found the day thoroughly enjoyable and all had great feedback from their experience.

“The day at PPG was great, we were allowed to manipulate the paint process by applying too much and not enough which really helped us see how to do it properly” said Charlie, year two apprentice at AW Nottingham.

The PPG technical team moved through topics such as how is paint made and the PPG Core Product list to help our apprentices understand the background and why certain processes are in place.

Plenty of practicals took place over the two days including; sanding of panels and understanding the correct application of filler to ease the primer application, preparation of panels for the application of Basecoat and Clearcoat, masking and blending techniques and the hardest of them all, three stage pearl application.

Josh, year two apprentice at AW Newark commented: “This experience really has opened my eyes to the world of paint, I was really enjoying the panel aspects but I already can’t wait to get into the paint shop back at Newark to see what else I can do.”

A huge thank you to PPG for hosting our apprentices over those 2 days.

Working in partnership with Ben

 

We are pleased to announce our partnership with Ben, the independent charity which is dedicated to providing life-changing care and support services to the people working in the automotive industry. Not only can this support you, but your family dependents also.

What Ben do
Ben provides information, advice, guidance and managed referrals (where appropriate) to their partner organisations which include debt advisors and mental health charities. Funding may also be provided for counselling, home adaptions or short breaks for families dealing with life-limiting or terminal illness and immediate help for those in crisis.

What is Ben
Ben is a not-for-profit organisation that partners with the automotive industry to provide support for life to its people and their family dependents. The charity focus on the four main pillars of peoples’ health and wellbeing: financial, physical, mental and social.

Who Ben help
Everyone who currently works or has in the past worked in the automotive industry can access their confidential, free support services for themselves and their family dependents. Their depth of knowledge and holistic approach helps protect the automotive industry’s most valuable asset – its people.

Most recently we supported ‘HatsOn4Ben’ where we put on some fancy hats to raise the profile of the charity.

Click here to view Ben’s website

 


 

 

Dynamic video captures AW’s buzzing Apprentice Showcase

AW Repair Group has released a dynamic video of highlights from their recent Apprentice Showcase.

The company welcomed more than 100 people who enjoyed a fully immersive and hands on experience of a modern high tech bodyshop.

Hopeful apprentices, including four young women, tried their hand at paint spraying, filler application, virtual welding, spot welding and sanding.

“It was a superbly successful event,” said Managing Director Andrew Walsh. “We have already progressed 14 young people to the next stage of one-to-one interviews. It was great to see our current year one apprentices demonstrating their skills and I was so impressed with how they articulately shared their enthusiasm for their job and the industry with our visitors.”

The showcase, supported by AutoRaise, BEN, LV=GI, Emtec College and numerous supply partners, was held at the group’s latest site in Derby with some keen youngsters travelling from the furthest site in Sleaford, Lincolnshire.

Bob Linwood, CEO of AutoRaise, said: “This is a unique way to show how the modern bodyshop operates. This particular event has been well organised and the young people are engaged and focussed and see the benefits of an apprenticeship, earning while they learn, and can see the bodyshop industry is a career for life.”

Added James Dunn, Group Operations Manager: “Hopefuls had pre-registered for either the morning or afternoon session and rotated through the demonstrations and experiences but by lunchtime they were so enthused by what was on offer the morning attendees wanted to stay for longer!

“Each group was chaperoned by AW volunteers from across the whole group and a variety of job roles to ensure everyone’s questions were answered fully.”

Jade Johnson, AW Business Relations: “We can’t thank all the supply partners enough for their support – PPG, LKQ, Upol, Accident Exchange, Soper of Lincoln, Car-o-Liner, PowerTec, Stanners – the demonstrations were informative, hands on and really engaged the young people. The smiles on their faces say it all – the whole place was buzzing.”

The Apprentice Showcase video can be viewed on our YouTube channel by clicking here

AW open site eight in an exclusive arrangement with LV= GI

AW Repair Group is delighted to announce the opening of site number eight in an exclusive arrangement with LV= General Insurance (LV= GI), taking the company’s annualised turnover to £17m.

The 12,000sq ft facility is located in Derby on the Ascot Business Park adjacent to the group’s recently opened Derby Fast Finish Centre.

Managing Director Andrew Walsh said: “We are very proud to be working in partnership with LV= GI as a solus site covering Derby and the surrounding areas. While this is a new style of venture for AW Repair Group we have a long relationship with LV= GI and a new team who are excited to be working together to achieve excellent results.”

The site, formerly occupied by an electronics company, has been refurbished & branded to create a state of the art environment with efficiency at its heart including another 10m drive-through Junair booth with skate and rail system, QADs and full downdraught to eliminate cross contamination when painting multiple vehicles using PPG refinishing system.

Chris Payne, Networks and Engineering Manager at LV= GI added: “We’re delighted to appoint AW Derby as a solus site, having worked with Andrew and his team for nearly 10 years. Our companies’ ethos and philosophies are well aligned and Andrew is always keen to push the boundaries to improve ways of working.”

Manager of the site Wayne Oakes has worked for AW Repair Group for over 7 years in three previous sites in procurement, as a production manager and previously as a VDA – where he worked under James Dunn who is now AW’s Group Operations Manager.

“I really enjoy being part of AW as the company continues to evolve and taking on the first solus site is a great privilege,” said Wayne. “I have a great team here, many joining us from other AW branches, who are all very focussed and dedicated to quality repair and customer experience.”

The Derby site is also equipped with Car-O-Liner jig and Car-O-Tronic measuring system, mid-riser lifts, Nitrogen plastic welding, PowerTec Miracle Pull system, 12 module integral Minden dust extraction with three phase, eco-friendly radiant heating and 1000 LUX LED lighting throughout.

AW would like to thank everyone involved and to the dedicated team of usual contractors who brought the project in on time once again.

New HR Manager

Jackie Buckthorpe, with 18 years experience in the retail sector, has joined AW Repair Group and is excited to bring a host of new personnel activities.

“In my previous role I have been responsible for talent spotting, upskilling and working with individuals to maximise their personal development and career progress,” said Jackie. “I am very much looking forward to working with apprentices and developing their career path as well as boosting the skill set of individuals seeking new opportunities with AW Repair Group as the company continues to grow.”

Jackie will also be developing schemes to strengthen retention, succession and has a keen interest in behavioural science.

Jackie will be taking over from Kim who will be returning to the accounts department full time as Payroll Manager including pensions and benefits.

Jackie will be based at the Sleaford head office but will visit all branches within the group regularly.

Multibooth centrepiece at AW Derby

Monday (6th August) marked the opening of AW Repair Group’s second Fast Finish Centre.

AW Fast Finish Centres (Derby) is a state of the art repair centre specialising in triaged small to medium repairs and cosmetic damage supported by the group’s accident repair centres in the area.

The 6,000 sq ft advanced bodyshop is located on Longbridge Lane, Ascot Business Park, Derby, two miles from the City Centre and less than one mile from Pride Park.

Managing Director Andrew Walsh said: “Our Fast Finish concept is attracting much interest for direct work steams as well as a triage process to minimise cycle times. We are very much looking forward to working with the new Junair three-way multibooth. This is the next step on from the tried and tested skate and rail double length booth which we have already had great success with at our Nottingham site.”

Along with other rapid repair processes and multi skilled technicians working as a team the Fast Finish Centre will provide the fastest possible cycle time for minor damage triaged by AW’s Central First Response team.

Other facilities include a dedicated area for alloy wheel repair with Wheel Blast Unit and Wheel Lathe, Nitrogen Plastic welding technology, PowerTec Miracle Pull Repair Systems, PPG low energy Compact system, integral Minden Dust Extraction, mid-riser lifts, 1,000Lux LED lighting and radiant heating providing a quality working environment.

The site will also employ an onsite VDA and Customer Liaison Advisor.

AW Repair Group was last month listed in the London Stock Exchange 2018 directory of 1,000 companies to Inspire Britain and its Nottingham site has been shortlisted in the final three of Bodyshop Magazine’s Medium Bodyshop of the Year.

 

Triple award accolade for AW

AW Repair Group is delighted its 18 month old Nottingham site has reached the finals of Medium Bodyshop of the Year.

In addition Lincolnshire HQ panel technician Terry McNamara is finalist in the skill awards.

“To be finalists in two categories is fantastic,” said Group Operations Manager James Dunn. “Terry is highly skilled and we are so happy for him to reach the finals after an on-line exam and two days testing at the Thatcham Research Centre. To be selected as one of the top four panel technicians in the country is a huge achievement whatever happens on the night.”

Added Ben Hissitt, manager of the Nottingham site: “The team here are absolutely thrilled. From day one everyone gelled together with one mindset and we smashed through all our targets in the first three months. We are very proud of reaching the final three in the country and continually strive to provide an outstanding performance in all areas of the business.”

The winners will be announced at a glittering ceremony next month (September) and follows AW Repair Group’s recent acknowledgement by London Stock Exchange as one of 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain.

AW honoured as “inspiring” business

AW Repair Group is honoured to have been named as one of 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain.

The prestigious directory, compiled by the London Stock Exchange Group, lists the top 1,000 businesses considered to be the most inspiring, dynamic and fastest growing companies.

With 40 industry sectors covered, AW Repair Group is the only bodyshop group named in the 20 companies presented within the Automotive sector.

Managing Director Andrew Walsh said: “This has come as a complete surprise. We did not enter a competition or put ourselves forward. The company has been selected by some of the most highly respected financial establishments. It is an absolute honour to be recognised as an inspiring company.”

 

Prime Minister, The Rt Hon Theresa May, writes in her foreword to the glossy publication: “All businesses, especially SMEs, are inspiring: taking the spark of an innovative idea and shaping it into a life –changing reality. New technology and new thinking brings better jobs for more people. The 1,000 innovative companies recognised in this report are at the forefront of doing just that.”

To be selected for the list businesses must have demonstrated not only positive growth in revenue over the last three years (between £6m and £250m) but also outperform their sector peers.

The CEO of London Stock Exchange Nikhil Rathi explained the 5th annual publication: “Our goal in producing the report is to highlight, to as wide an audience as possible, the importance of fast-growing businesses to the future of the UK economy. We believe these companies have enormous potential for innovation, growth and job creation.”

AW Repair Group has opened a new repair centre for three consecutive years and employs more than 125 personnel.

AW Group wins LV= Community Award

AW Repair Group is honoured to have received the LV= Insurance Community Award in recognition of work with charitable organisations throughout the past year.

From painting village bicycles yellow, to opening up collection points for fire victims and helping the homeless, the past year has seen AW’s helping hand spread up and down the country.

Michael Golding, Network Manager of the national insurance company LV= commented: “It’s great to see AW get the recognition for this award and all the team should be very proud.”

Added Andrew Walsh, Managing Director, AW Repair Group: “Winning the LV= Community award was a great boost for the team. As a company we interact as much as possible with our local communities and recognition from a prestigious insurer as LV= is the icing on the cake for us!”

The award noted the various charitable events throughout the year including the sponsorship of lycra shirts for 24 cyclists collectively clocking up nearly 3,000 miles to raise money for sick children in memory of toddler Naomi Fardell. Cycling from Great Ormond Street, London, to Grantham, Lincolnshire, The Naomi Trust cyclists’ sponsorship benefited Grantham Hospital Children’s Ward, Glenfield Intensive Care Unit and Great Ormond Street – all hospitals which helped Naomi during her short life.

From amateur cyclists to the Tour of Britain in August which, for the first time, passed through Nottinghamshire. The county’s villages en route were keen to join in with Edingley hitting the headlines as they decorated the streets with yellow bikes – painted by AW Repair Group’s Newark, Nottinghamshire site.

The award judges were also moved by AW Repair Group joining those across the country in solidarity with the victims of the tragic Grenfell Tower disaster. Being in the Midlands and away from the focal point of London, staff and members of the community felt helpless until AW Repair Group decided to open the five sites across the East Midlands as drop-off points for donations of soft furnishings.

The branches were inundated with hundreds of donations of bedding and curtains and although it soon became apparent that the overwhelming support in London meant that the donations were being turned away the company continued to accept while looking for another charity in need.

As the year end approached and with the thought of homeless spending Christmas on the streets AW Repair Group chose Christian homelessness charity The Nomad Trust as the worthy beneficiary.

Hundreds of bags, boxes and crates were loaded into the Nissan Leaf electric courtesy cars (saving the world too!) and delivered to the trust where volunteers were overwhelmed by the generosity. The donations provided immediate resource for the homeless and items to sell in the charity’s shops.

These events have been held alongside sponsoring the AutoRaise Summer Ball, RoundTable OktoberFest and branches partaking in the annual Children In Need activities and Save The Children’s Christmas Jumper Day.

Added Jade Johnson, AW Repair Group, Marketing & Communications: “We believe our community spirit supports those in need and unites our personnel as well as supporting our company ethos that our customers should be able to know and trust us even before becoming a customer.”

Due to the adverse weather, AW were unable to attend the LV= Claims Awards in Bournemouth but are looking forward to taking receipt of the award in due course.