Truck and van trainees Ben Hassall and Oliver Warrington came together from opposite sides of the country to collect prestigious Mercedes-Benz Apprentice of the Year awards.
Hassall, who works in Exeter for South-West Dealer City West Commercials, was presented with the trophy for commercial vehicle technicians, while Warrington, who is based at the Norwich branch of East Anglian franchisee Orwell Truck & Van, won the prize for parts operations specialists.
The two were chosen from shortlists of three for each job category, on the basis of their positive attitudes and behaviours, as well as their performances in online tests and practical assignments.
All six finalists, their guests, and counterparts from the manufacturer’s passenger car retail network, were treated to a day to remember – including high-octane Mercedes-AMG and 4x4 Driving Experiences – at the Mercedes-Benz World brand centre in Brooklands, Surrey.
Ben, aged 18, and Oliver, 17, are both in the second year of their three-year apprenticeships. Their training to date has entailed a combination of on-the-job instruction in the workshop and Parts department at their respective Dealerships, and block release study at the Mercedes-Benz National Apprentice Academy in Milton Keynes.
Sam Whittaker, director Customer Service & Operations for Mercedes-Benz Trucks, presented this year’s Commercial Vehicle Apprentice of the Year awards. “All of our finalists are right up there with the very best apprentices from any industry sector, not just the truck and van business,” he declared.
“We are wedded to a philosophy of ‘growing our own’, nurturing and developing the talents of all who work within our organisation so that each can fully realise his or her potential,” continued Whittaker.
“Today’s trainees will be the leaders of tomorrow. With their tremendous enthusiasm for the job and appreciation of the crucial importance of customer service, the highly impressive young people whose achievements we celebrate with these awards confirm that the future of our business and brand is in safe hands.”
The Mercedes-Benz Apprenticeship Programme has welcomed almost 3,000 young people for technician and parts specialist training since its inception in 1995 – 65% are still working within its Dealer and Retailer network. In 2016, after receiving more than 6,500 applications, it accepted a record intake of 253 students, a total that will be surpassed this year.
The six Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicle Apprentice of the Year finalists were:
Winner, Ben Hassall, City West Commercials, Exeter
Michael Crichton, Northside Truck & Van, Hull
Thomas Kitchen, Intercounty Truck & Van, Milton Keynes
Parts Operations Specialist
Winner, Oliver Warrington, Orwell Truck & Van, Norwich
Michael Best, Midlands Truck & Van, Coventry
Connor Rees, Northside Truck & Van, York