The secret to surviving 40 years in the Industry

October 2019 marks a special anniversary for AW Repair Group’s Compliancy & Training Manager, Ian Pearson, who chose vehicle body repair over mathematics 40-years ago this month.
A young Ian walked through the doors at WASS (Wallace Arnold Sales & Service) on Lenton Lane, Nottingham in October 1979 as a multi-skilled apprentice, little did he know that 40-years later he’d be a training manager himself.

Attending Peoples College to complete the five-year City & Guilds apprenticeship, Ian achieved two credits and one distinction in light vehicle body repair, trim and refinishing. After completing practical tests in various different fields, such as metal finish repair, welding, chassis pulling and painting a door skin with adjacent blends he also received his RTITB (Road Transport Industry Training Board) Craft Studies certificate.

Fast forward 10 years to 1989, Ian was working as a multi-skilled technician with five-years qualified experience under his belt at a Vauxhall dealer in Nottingham. “It was so rewarding, being able to carry out any repair from start to finish,” said Ian, remembering his Vauxhall days.

Another 10 years later, Ian decided to take a slight career change and took on the combined role of Estimator and Workshop Controller at Hooleys Ford in Nottingham.
Ian commented: “I knew it was time for me to come off the shop floor, I had built my knowledge over the years and wanted to further my career without getting my hands dirty. In those days it was quite dirty work – not like the high specification bodyshops we have today.

“One of the most rewarding moments during my career within this industry was when I was at Sandicliffe Ford, I was given the task to introduce and maintain ISO9002. I was a naïve manager at the time, but I took it in my stride and funnily enough now I’m carrying out compliancy within AW Repair Group it’s things like ISO and BSI I have to be heavily involved in across the group,” added Ian.

Ian joined AW Repair Group in 2007 as General Manager of the Denaby, South Yorkshire site and was later instrumental in setting up the Markham Vale, Chesterfield site in 2014, which he was running until earlier this year when he was appointed to the Group Operations Team as a Compliancy & Training Manager.
Ian now ensures are all sites are compliant to BSI and other regulatory bodies and heads up AW’s Training & Apprenticeship academy, which to date has 19 students.
“It’s great that apprentices are getting stuck in and getting really doing the job rather than making tea and cleaning the floor which I had to do more times than I want to recall! I’m glad the industry has taken a huge leap forward. I love seeing the industry I’ve worked in for 40 years progress and I feel privileged and proud to have ben part of AW’s growth over the last 12 years.”

Circa 2005: Ian pictured with Wally Beeson and a very young Katie who, coincidentally, is now a multi-skilled technician herself at our Fast Finish Centre in Derby.

AW take an innovative leap with PPG

AW Repair Group is taking one small step for paint technicians and one giant leap for the paint industry as a trial site for a revolutionary colour mixing system.

Worldwide paint manufacturer PPG showcased their innovative MOONWALK™ system at the Motor & Sport Institute in Madrid earlier this year to a small group of invited guests including AW’s MD, Andrew Walsh.

And last week PPG installed the system at the group’s site in Nottingham which looks set to revolutionise the way paint is mixed in bodyshops.

General manager of the site Ben Hissitt said the technicians are excited to be using the time saving precision mixing technology. “Previously, our paint technicians were taking approximately an hour per day each to mix their base coat colour, however with MOONWALK™ this will be done by the automated system freeing up time to increase vehicle throughput.”

The new state of the art equipment not only saves labour time but it’s environmentally friendly drop-free minimal mix dispensing solution reduces waste.

Andrew added: “I’m excited that this level of intelligence is now moving into bodyshops at grassroots level. We must always embrace change and I can see many benefits to stepping away from the conventional process of paint mixing. This is unchartered territory for AW bodyshops and I’m keen to hear the feedback from the site.”

AW shortlisted for Growing Business Award

AW Repair Group is delighted to be shortlisted in the National Growing Business Awards 2019.

Managing Director Andrew Walsh will attend a finalist’s interview later this month which will decide the winner from the seven companies shortlisted. The award category is seeking a winner that can demonstrate it has challenged conventional thinking in their market or industry and seen positive commercial results.

“We are never afraid to trial new technology and processes and find new ways to improve the vehicle crash repair journey for our customers,” said Andrew. “To have been shortlisted for this award is itself an acknowledgement to the AW team, whatever the final outcome.”

Judges for the National Growing Business Awards include representatives from household names such as Virgin Experience Days, Yo! Shushi, Go Ape, Bulldog Skincare and Santander.

A spokesman for the awards added: “Shortlisted companies have already demonstrated an in depth knowledge of the competitive landscape of their sector and how innovation is a key driver of the business strategy.”

The winners will be announced at a London ceremony in November.