BRADFORD automotive retailer JCT600 took on 40 apprentices last year - 12 more than originally planned.

The family firm began its training scheme for young people five years ago and in that time has attracted and retained 100 apprentices in a variety of roles.

With its headquarters in Bradford, JCT600 offers apprenticeships at most of its 52 dealerships throughout Yorkshire, the North East, the Humber, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.

It hosts assessment days to give more information about the wide variety of roles available, from trainee service advisers to apprentice technicians and parts apprentices.

Katie Saunders, HR director for JCT600, said: “When young people are looking for job opportunities, the motor industry may not necessarily be a sector which they immediately think of. However, it has undergone a huge transformation in recent years with companies like JCT600 investing in high tech showrooms and specially tailored training programmes to attract the brightest talent.

“Motor retail also offers a huge choice of roles, many of which potential recruits may not be aware of, for example, the parts adviser is proving to be a great choice for those new to the sector.

“We’ve worked hard over the last five years to design a programme which gives our apprentices the training they need for their chosen role.”

The firm, which has a £1.25 billion turnover and sells 21 automotive brands, is preparing to launch its 2019 scheme.

Oliver Mouatt, 21, a third year parts adviser apprentice from Yeadon who works at Vauxhall Bradford, said: “I had a look at their website and really fancied being a parts adviser because it’s such a diverse role. Once I complete my apprenticeship at Vauxhall Bradford, which is one of JCT600’s biggest parts operations, I’m hoping to manage one of the smaller sites and work my way up through the ranks.”

Eighteen-year-old Jessica Suffield, who lives in Bradford, is a second year apprentice technician at Porsche Leeds. She said: “I’ve really enjoyed my two years with Porsche so far and I’m planning to carry on and develop my skills further. The apprenticeship is very well-structured – there’s lots of guidance and support at work and the weeks we spend at college are really good.”

Conor Asquith-Smith, 20, from Bradford, has started on the first year of his training as a technician at Volkswagen Bradford.

He said: “I’ve always wanted to be a technician, so this is a dream come true for me. I did work experience at JCT600 through the Prince’s Trust, went through a number of interviews and got this job at the end of it – it’s a huge achievement and I’m exactly where I want to be.”