The Seventh Annual National Apprenticeship Week (@Apprenticeships) was a smashing success, introducing a wide range of automotive opportunities to a whole new world of bright, young talent. As part of the events that happened across the U.K., we were proud to celebrate the success of one of those shining stars—Jamie Betts, one of Raytheon Professional Services’ (RPS) second-year apprentices at Vauxhall Regency Cars in Buckie, Scotland.
Jamie passed selection over hundreds of other entrants to compete in the seven-person U.K. automotive technology selection squad, in the hope of achieving the goal of competing and representing the U.K. at WorldSkills Sao Paulo 2015. Jamie is the second RPS apprentice to participate in WorldSkills International, a not-for-profit programme that promotes vocational education and training around the world.
We sat down with Jamie to learn more about his apprenticeship with Vauxhall and how his training with RPS prepared him to compete at the highest level.
RPS: When did your interest in automotive technology start? Was there anyone in your family that worked in the trade?
Jamie: No one in my family was in the automotive trade, but I can remember working on cars at age six or seven. I always had books and manuals around, too. I did a year of college in basic mechanics and worked on bikes and cars too, but it doesn’t necessarily give you the practical knowledge needed in the field. My apprenticeship with Raytheon provides the training and experience I need.
RPS: What skills have you learned while involved in the apprenticeship program that helped prepare you for the WorldSkills competition?
Jamie: I’ve had a lot of classroom and workshop training on a wide range of technology including recently—in my second year—advanced electrics, and manual and automatic transmission. The hands-on work and training at the dealership allows me to apply the skills I have learnt at the programme and how to complete tasks logically—technical parts of the job work.
RPS: What kinds of tasks have you had to complete in the preliminary rounds of the WorldSkills competition?
Jamie: It’s been a series of tests including engine electrical, petrol and diesel engine mechanical, steering and suspension, vehicle electrics, transmission systems, and braking systems. There is usually a two-hour time limit to complete each task, which usually involves diagnosing a problem and following instructions to fix it.
RPS: Based on your RPS training and apprenticeship experience at Vauxhall thus far, what area of the trade interests you the most?
Jamie: I like the technical, electrical and diagnostic aspects to working on motor vehicles and would like to become a gold or platinum-level diagnostic technician.
RPS: Has your employer been supportive of the competition?
Jamie: Yes, Regency Vauxhall has been very positive about my involvement in the competition and provided opportunity to improve my skills. They are also quite proud to say they have a WorldSkills competitor in their workplace. I look forward to growing my skills with Regency Vauxhall, and to the support my mentors provide as the competition continues.
RPS: Do you like competing?
Jamie: Yes. I don’t mind the stress of it — and like being left to your own devices to concentrate, solve problems and figure out the challenge at hand. I want to be the best at each area of the competition.
At RPS we are pleased to have had a hand in training some of the brightest apprentices in their respective fields, and we look forward to following Jamie Betts’ success in the competition—and after. If you are interested in learning more about our involvement in apprenticeship programs, you can visit related topics shared on the RPS blog here.