A day in the life of Pudsey Bear

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For Children in Need 2014 we invited Pudsey down to AW HQ for a fun filled day!

From arriving the ladies loved him! Although the weather took a turn for the worse, he stuck in there and was estimating using Audamobile, bonding, prepping panels, spraying, polishing and even had time for a coffee and some calls!

Here’s what he got up to …

Lincolnshire Police Interceptors with LRSP

Popular TV series Police Interceptors have been filming the work of Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership (LRSP) for episodes to be screened in the New Year.


And as a close partnership of LRSP, AW Repair Group was delighted to go along to see the film crews in action.

Infact AW’s Jade Johnson took part in filmed demonstrations of LRSP’s road safety programme.

Writes Jade:

Firstly we were put into their state of the art skid training vehicle and with the flip of a switch the suspension changes and throws you into a 360 spin! The skid training vehicle simulates driving on ice, slippery roads and aquaplaning. During the training we learnt how to handle tricky situations and build our driving skills, in a fun and friendly way.

Next we experienced a car crash in LRSP’s crash car simulator, which really hit a nerve and really makes you think what you would do in that situation. We got to take the trusty Peugeot 205 GTi for a spin, which AW Repair Group repainted for LRSP in March 2013, which was great fun! Finally, we took to the PlayStation for a timed challenge against each other.

Whilst we were having fun on these exercises we were in a controlled environment and it’s easy to forget that this could really happen to you when you are least expecting it. But I would really recommend the driving training courses that LRSP offer, it’s a skill that will stay with you for life and something we wouldn’t have the opportunity to learn without the fantastic work by Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership’s team.IMG_2914

As well as driver training courses LRSP deliver their hard hitting 2Fast2Soon production to schools around the region.

Gliding Evening with Porsche Club GB

Niel GliderTwo of AW Repair Group’s vehicle damage assessors have been flying high with Porsche Club GB this week.

The club’s annual visit to Trent Valley Gliding Club saw members swop their wheels for wings and Lincolnshire branch VDA Niel Harmston went along to join the fun.

Coincidentally his VDA colleague Dave Bieniasz is an avid glider and member of Trent Valley Club and was happy to share his passion with both Niel and Porsche club members.

Commented Niel: “Following the winch launch we reached approximately 1200ft. After release from the winch, Dave demonstrated the flying controls and explained how the glider can stay airborne using lift from thermals. We even took over the controls and flew for a short while!”

Check out Trent Valley Gliding Club at Kirton-in-Lindsey

The Bodyshop Event 2014

The Bodyshop Magazine Annual Awards returned to the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales, last week.

All of us

Managing Director, Andrew Walsh was invited to attend the 2014 event with Audatex, the global computerised estimating system provider. And the AW Repair Group was represented further by 6 team members who enjoyed champagne and a 3-course meal.



The theme of the 2014 Bodyshop Event was Superheroes so, quite aptly, we were supplied with eye masks and venue staff were in full superhero costumes. The after dinner entertainment included a magician and a live band.


Last time the bodyshop awards were at the The Celtic Manor Resort was in 2004, where our apprentice Simon Bailey was up for ‘Young Panel Technician of the Year’. Simon is still a member of our AW family and is a highly skilled technician with specialism in repairing Porsche vehicles.



Congratulations to all winners at this year’s event, we’re already looking forward to 2015!



AW enjoy race day at the Williams F1 Conference Centre!

AW Repair Group’s management were treated to a rare glimpse into world behind the scenes of Formula 1 as invited guests to the home of Williams Racing, Grove, Oxfordshire to watch the recent Grand Prix.

Lincolnshire branch manager Steve Hoe is a self confessed F1 fanatic and shares his experience with us here….

Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of AW Repair Group; James, Ian, Andrew and myself to thank PPG Paint Supplies for the invite and thank Simon Boulter, our area manager for making our ‘money can’t buy’ experience one never to be forgotten.



When I first arrived at the Williams Conference Centre the first thing I saw was their sculptured hedge – I couldn’t quite believe it, it put my perfectly pruned garden to shame! I then walked into the Centre where I found a suspended F1 car, all I could think was ‘wow!’


Throughout the day there were F1 activities to take part in, proudly I did quite well with all of them!

F1 simulator


Firstly was the F1 simulator which is seated in an FW22 which was actually driven in 2000 by Jenson Button + Ralf Schumacher! The simulator is in the trophy room, so you could browse over all of the trophies won and all of the helmets from the drivers.(Ian Pearson, General Manager, Denaby – pictured right)






I was chuffed to beat the MD & the other managers on the giant 4 lane scalextric with F1 cars and my winning streak continued with the next two more energetic activities…





Batak Challenge


The Batak challenge, used to improve reaction, hand-eye coordination and stamina. Eight LED numbered targets are put under the control of a dedicated microcomputer.  The goal is to touch as many of the illuminated lights as possible in a set time, a typical F1 driver gets 70-80 in a minute, I managed 41…still higher than the others!

pitstop challenge



Last but not least – The PitStop Challenge, a real-life experience being under pressure of an actual Formula One Pit Stop. We managed it in the end and what a laugh we had.



We were then escorted in to the conference room where the Williams chief engineer talked about the race, how they formulated their strategy with pitstop times, lane distance, track distance and various other timings. We also had a live link with Felipe Massa who was talking about his predictions of the race – which turned out to be pretty spot on!


The race was then on, the atmosphere was buzzing, it was like we were track-side! William’s Massa came 3rd in the race, however Lewis Hamilton was the winner, but what a race.

Following the race we enjoyed a three-course meal at the centre. The food was lovely plus we got a little something to take home – a master cylinder valve in a glass cube. Only 1000 were made so we got our limited edition number with it! A great keepsake for an F1 nut like me!





As we were leaving, I managed to find the wrong door – however it lead me into the collection room displaying all F1 cars through the years. That was really special and something I really enjoyed. I’m certainly glad I took that wrong turn!


Click here for a quick look at the Williams Conference Centre.

Steve Hoe
General Manager



Sleaford Oktoberfest 2014


Once again AW Repair Group has been proud to sponsor the Sleaford Oktoberfest with 2014 being bigger and better!

The event was held on 19th and 20th September at Boston Road Recreational Ground, Sleaford, where a large marquee and fair ground rides filled the park land.



With 40 beers and 18 ciders to choose from –  there would certainly have been a few sore heads on Saturday and Sunday! IMG_2245

The Friday night kicked off at 5pm, live music started at 6pm with bands including The Bliss and The Freefall – both very popular with the crowds.

Saturday opened at 11am with family fun including arts and crafts, bouncy castles and a performance from Sleaford Gymnastics Club. This was shortly followed by 1940s style singer, Sarah Jane and the live music continued until the amazing Ultra 90s hit the stage at 10pm!

We’re already looking forward to next year!!

Sleaford Historic Car and Motorcycle Show 2014


AW Repair Group’s Lincolnshire branch was delighted to again support the annual Sleaford Historic Car and Motorcycle show. We sponsored Class C, which was vehicles dated from 1965 to 1972.

Trophy presentation

The 2014 show took place on Saturday 6th September in the Sleaford Council Office car park. Although it was a fresh morning, we got set up early and were able to watch (and hear!) some of the historic cars and motorcycles arrive. The crowds entered and with them bought the sun!

We would like to congratulate all of the winners in their class, however all cars and motorcycles on display were stunning.

The 2014 Historic Car and Motorcycle Show is the 22nd in a line stretching back to the early 1990’s since when the event has variously been called the Vintage Vehicle Rally, the Sleaford Classic Car Show and from 2000 onwards, the Sleaford Historic Car & Motorcycle Show!


Props + Pistons with Porsche Club GB

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Porsche Carrera cup champion Tim Harvey joined AW Repair Group and Lincolnshire Region Porsche Club members at the annual Props and Pistons event on bank holiday Monday.


The event, organised by Bush Tyres, is held at East Kirkby aviation centre and is a fantastic blend of aviation and automobile history & enthusiasts.




Before the weather took a turn for the worse we got our event shelter set up ready for the Spitfire fly-past, which was enjoyed by all.






‘Just Jane’ the NX611 Lancaster is based at East Kirkby, so it was lovely to see the taxi runs she was doing up and down the runway. “Just Jane” was built by Austin Motors at Longbridge near Birmingham, in April 1945. Given the serial number NX611, she was one of the first 150 B Mk VII Avro Lancasters destined as part of the RAF’s Tiger Force in the Far East. In 1964, the French presented her to the Historical Aircraft Preservation Society and flew her to her new home in Sydney where she was overhauled before being flown back to Britain. It took nine days to complete the 12,000 mile journey back to her homeland- seventy flying hours- landing at Biggin Hill on 13 May, 1965.

There were in excess of 20 cars of members of the Porsche Club who attended with us, arriving early to get their spot on the stand. Luckily on arrival the sun was shining so they were able to detail their cars so they were spotless.




Lincolnshire branch manager, Steve Hoe with IMG_1999Tim Harvey, the 1992 British Touring Car Champion and the 2008 and 2010 Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion. Tim Harvey won sixteen races in the British Touring Car Championship between 1987 and 1995, but competed in the series until 2002. He was also the winner of the invitational Guia Race of Macau touring car event, in 1989.


Lincolnshire Porsche club members below with Tim Harvey




Below are some of the cars on display from the Porschesday

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Volkswagen Group Interview – HR Toolkit

Written for and by Volkswagen Group UK

The system behind the success: HR Toolkit and AW Repair Group

Andrew Walsh explains how HR toolkit helps grow his own talent, and keep him out of court

What’s your first thought when someone mentions HR (human resources)? Chances are you think about hiring, firing or promoting someone. For smaller businesses – such as most bodyshops – getting HR processes right doesn’t just give you the chance to run your business within the safety net of the law, it means you keep only the best staff and build a company culture to be proud of.

AW Repair Group’s network of Midlands-based bodyshops, AW Accident Repair Centres, uses HR Toolkit to support its HR team when it comes to disciplinary procedures, appraisals, recruitment and even creating an employee handbook.

Using HR Toolkit’s online legal information, customisable forms and 24/7 legal advice helpline costs AW just £290 per year per branch, and is available for the same price to all Volkswagen Group-approved bodyshops.




And managing director Andrew Walsh (pictured) is certain he gets his money’s worth.

“Employment law is changing so fast, there’s no way that busy bodyshop managers are going to have time to keep up. Employing nearly 100 people it’s inevitable that we’re going to have staff issues and will have to act straight away.”

Phone a friend

Andrew and his team make full use of the toolkit’s telephone advice helpline. Over the years of addressing disputes, his first bit of advice is: “Get advice straight away. Find out what you should be doing, because you need to make sure you’re acting properly straight away. There are way of doing things and a wrong step early on can affect an outcome.”Since AW Repair Group launched its first  purpose-built bodyshop in 2000, it has expanded into Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire, and relocated its first branch to become an aluminium-approved prestige centre in Sleaford, Lincolnshire.

Because of this expansion, Andrew has decided to create a company handbook – a bible of the company’s rules that all staff must agree to. “Compass, the team that runs HR Toolkit, has been helping us with our handbook, and their regular email updates have kept our legal knowledge up to date as we create it.”

In the firing line

It’s clear Andrew doesn’t shy away from keeping only the best people in his team. “If someone is not being an effective part of the team then give your manager the power to call the advice line as soon as they have any problems.

Rob technician“It’s crucial to do the disciplinary process right and one step at a time. You have to be impartial – I bring in a manager from another branch – and hold hearings with the right to appeal directed to me. But because of the process, the evidence and the time you must give yourself to consider the situation, sometimes the disciplinary procedure has been a positive process.”

From disciplinary to top employee

One of AW’s team members was put through this disciplinary process after repeated verbal warnings, but it didn’t quite work out as expected. It gave the member of staff the motivation to completely overhaul his working attitude.

In Andrew’s words: “We thought we had reached the end of the line with him, but he was a good person and that shone through in the disciplinary procedure. Both the company and the individual discovered a lot about each other, and we decided to keep him on the team. In fact the process we put him through has turned him into a star AW employee.”

If you don’t use HR Toolkit, Andrew has some advice.

“We’ve used the HR Toolkit regularly, even when we know we are taking the right track, for that added reassurance. The best thing I can say is that we’ve not been threatened with legal action, we’ve had no repercussions from our HR decisions and we’ve not been to court.”

Written for and by Volkswagen Group UK

ATA Re-Accreditation Congratulations


Congratulations to Niel Harmston, our longest standing employee for passing his ATA VDA re-accreditation with 97%!

Niel has lived in the Sleaford area all his life and was the first Vehicle Damage Assessor employed by AW. Niel has been employed by our prestige Lincolnshire branch for more than 14 years.

While there have been many changes throughout the industry, Niel has managed to keep current and as of late has ditched his clipboard (which he was quite attached to after all these years) for his iPad, to use AudaMobile.

The accreditation was implemented by the British Standard Institute (BSI) PAS125 programme to licensed bodyshops in the UK in 2007/8, to ensure those who are assessing vehicle damage are fully trained and competent to do so on today’s modern and complicated vehicles. The accreditation has to be re-achieved every three years to ensure VDAs are aware of the latest repair methods and technological changes in construction.

Congratulations again Niel, you are a valued member of the team. Here’s to the next 14 years!