Mr Halfon, who chairs the House of Commons Education Select Committee, toured the service centre and spoke to former and current apprentices, including an apprentice who is part of the latest cohort to receive an education on the maintenance of electric and hybrid vehicles.
In addition, Mr Halfon, whose own experiences with cerebral palsy has been well documented, spoke to Group Operations Director at Bristol Street Motors, Leon Caruso, about the Motability Scheme. Bristol Street Motors is the largest delivery partner of the scheme, which allows people with disabilities, their families and carers to regain or maintain their independence and become mobile by exchanging certain benefits for a brand-new vehicle.
Bristol Street Motors opened the state-of-the-art 150sq ft service centre on River Way in late 2021, creating 24 jobs, following a £600,000 investment. Mr Halfon was shown the site’s latest vehicle servicing technology, including an automated drive-in assessment area, which features floor sensors that will assess tyre tread, inflation and quality without a customer needing to leave their vehicle.
Bristol Street Motors is also investing an additional £400,000 to refurbish another site in Harlow, on Edinburgh Way, which will become one of the UK’s first locations to feature Stellantis brands - Peugeot, Citroen and Vauxhall – under one roof – including the growing range of electric vehicles offered.
Leon Caruso, Group Operations Director at Bristol Street Motors, said: “Robert Halfon MP’s visit provided an ideal opportunity to highlight our ongoing confidence in Harlow and how Bristol Street Motors is preparing the next generation of motor trade professionals through our leading-edge apprenticeship programme.
“He was very interested to speak to current apprentices and colleagues who have gained qualifications through on-the-job training. We have more than 300 apprentices working across the Group with around 200 positions open, and many of our colleagues started in the motor trade as apprentices.”
Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow, said: “It was a pleasure to meet with the team and hear about how Bristol Street Motors is investing in Harlow, both in terms of people through its apprenticeship and training programmes, and capital with its dealership and service centre developments.
“As we as a nation edge closer towards the ban on new fossil fuelled vehicles, it’s crucial that we have the skill infrastructure required to maintain electric vehicles. I’m delighted to see the next wave of talented individuals is being prepared for that future through well-designed, well-paid apprenticeships with Bristol Street Motors.
“I was also very interested to learn how Bristol Street Motors is supporting people with disabilities to be independent through its delivery of the Motability scheme, and see how the company is investing in technology such as its drive-in assessment area.”