The Foray Motor Group has stepped in to offer work experience to college students after their workshops were destroyed in a fire earlier this year.
The automotive faculty and a motorcycle maintenance workshop at Bridgewater and Taunton College went up in flames back in February leaving students without a place to work.
After hearing about the dramatic blaze, Ford Motor Company Ltd reached out to the Foray Motor Group, who secured the work experience within their Taunton and Bridgwater garages,
Ford had previously met with Autotech Group to discuss its new Academy concept, created to counteract the shortage of fresh talent entering the automotive industry and the fire presented the perfect opportunity to give the scheme a boost.
Over the course of three weeks the six college students will be divided between the two sites and rotated on a weekly basis to work within the workshop, the parts department and the service desk, providing them with a fully comprehensive work experience.
Sarah Brettle, director of Ford Customer Service Division, said: ‘Attracting and retaining talented technicians in our dealer network is critical and being able to offer in-dealer training to young people who have elected to pursue a Further Education route into the industry is something which we were already looking closely at.
‘Once we became aware of the damage to Bridgwater and Taunton’s workshop facilities, it made complete sense to collaborate with our partners at Autotech Academy and Foray Motor Group to help these students continue their education and gain real-world dealership experience.’
Gavin White, CEO of Autotech Group added: ‘We established Autotech Academy to bring our college and automotive employer links together, and create a solution which would benefit students.
‘While the focus of the Academy will be to establish internships for qualified students, the fact that this work experience opportunity between Ford and Bridgwater & Taunton College has come to fruition so quickly is testament to our fantastic relationships to both the educational and the automotive industries.’
The link-up has also been welcomed by the college.
The fire required 15 fire engines and destroyed specialist motorsport equipment.
Vinnie Maisey, curriculum manager – automotive for Bridgwater & Taunton College, said: ‘The recent fire at Bridgwater & Taunton College affected two automotive workshops at our Bridgwater Campus and thus hindering the progress of our dedicated students.
‘As a college, we are very appreciative of the support shown to us by the automotive sector since the incident and look to continue working closely with the Autotech Group and Ford UK.
‘The opportunity to experience life inside a modern dealership will be invaluable to the students and quite possibly career changing.
‘I believe this will only further aid our learners in gaining vital experience and employment at the end of their respective courses.
‘We are excited to see what prospects may arise for our students at the end of this bespoke opportunity.
‘With opportunities like these for young budding technicians, the future is looking bright for the automotive industry and I, for one, am very excited to be a part of this.’