Francis, who is married with three children, studied civil engineering at Salford University in Manchester. He worked in a number of positions in the retail sector and realised that while he loved what he studied, he developed a passion for serving customers, which led him to apply for the programme.
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 Francis, 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.
Francis said: “As much as I love civil engineering over the years, I have enjoyed meeting customers and going above and beyond to meet their needs. The apprenticeship was an unmissable opportunity to earn while you learn and I am very excited to start this new chapter in my career.”
Robert Forrester, chief executive officer 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 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 both 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.”