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Bristol Street Motors

BSM Peterlee Hyundai welcomes its first degree apprentice

BSM Peterlee Hyundai welcomes its first degree apprentice

Bristol Street Motors Peterlee Hyundai has welcomed its first degree-level apprentice.

Luke Austin, 18, is training as an undergraduate service advisor at the dealership, while working towards a BA in Business Leadership & Management degree, in partnership with Northumbria University.

Luke studied Psychology, Business and Sport at Newcastle School before leaving in July 2018. He has completed the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze, Silver and Gold awards, in addition to volunteering at a local charity shop, supporting Cub and Beaver groups and achieving a Football Young Leaders qualification in sports coaching.

Before joining Bristol Street Motors Peterlee Hyundai as a Service Advisor Luke worked in the hospitality sector for Sodexo Prestige at Newcastle United Football Club, Newcastle Racecourse, Marriot Hotels and San Lorenzo restaurant.

The degree-level apprenticeship programme offers talented young people the chance to gain a degree while earning a salary of £18,000 holding a full-time permanent role within the business. Vertu Motors plc, the Group which owns Bristol Street Motors, will fund £27,000-worth of tuition fees over the 3.5-year course and the course is one of the first motor retail industry’s degree-level apprenticeships.

This year, a group of 13 people are starting the apprenticeships, an increase from the 10 students who started last year, who are now commencing their second year. Like Luke, students will spend the majority of the course in roles at dealerships across the Vertu Motors group, with the prospect of future progression into managerial roles.

Luke said: “When I finished my A-Levels, I didn’t want to go back into full-time education so university didn’t seem like a viable option. I was looking for something more practical, and the degree apprenticeship, where you can earn while you learn and get a degree which has been funded by the company, seemed like an attractive prospect.

“The motor industry is very new to me and I’ve never done anything quite like it before, but I am really enjoying it. Both the studying, and the hands-on experience I have gained in the service department, have been fantastic and I’m looking forward to the next few years.”

Robert Forrester, chief executive of Vertu Motors plc, said: “The degree-level apprenticeship is a fantastic opportunity to gain a respected degree, debt-free in a dynamic industry. The programme was hugely successful last year and we are thrilled to welcome our new intake.

“We are always keen to take on talented, enthusiastic people who will fit with our values and our degree-level apprenticeship is not just something for school-leavers to consider. This year we have welcomed a strong mix of men and women of different ages, from a variety of backgrounds. I am excited to see how their careers progress over the next couple of years.”