TTS Meeting Increasing Demand for a Skilled Workforce

Transport Training Services (TTS) has launched its 2019 apprenticeship recruitment campaign and is aiming to exceed last year’s figure by recruiting 100 new apprentices. 

The TTS 100 apprenticeships will start on or before September 2019 and will supply the industry with talented young people in a variety of apprentice job roles – light and heavy vehicle technicians, body repair and vehicle refinish technicians, motorcycle repair technicians, tyre technicians as well as aftersales and parts advisors.

TTS will also be further developing its driving goods vehicles apprenticeship, as well as offering a new traffic office apprenticeship for those who wish to embark on a career in traffic planning and logistics.

“These are exciting times for TTS as we aim to build upon last year’s record recruitment of over 85 new apprentices who entered the motor vehicle and transport sectors in September 2018,” says CEO Martin Hutchinson.  “These recruits have quickly become productive in their new job roles.  This can only be good news for employers who are faced with skills shortages in a number of areas.”

TTS offers both employers and young people an efficient and robust assessment and job matching service so that ‘job-ready’ applicants can be quickly matched to ‘live’ vacancies.

Richard Armstrong, Aftersales Manager, Belfast Audi, with new Apprentice Automotive Technician, James Baird and Robert Deignan, Careers Development Officer, Transport Training Services (TTS).

Robert Deignan, Careers Development Officer at TTS, is actively building partnerships with schools and promoting motor vehicle careers at jobs fairs and other community outreach events.  This activity has stimulated a significant number of apprentice applications from school leavers and young people interested in kick-starting their career.

Each applicant is assessed at TTS using a range of bespoke diagnostic tests.  Suitable prospects are then connected directly to employers for further assessment, work trials and final interviews.  As Robert explains, “The diagnostic assessment tool is a good indicator of an applicant’s ability in literacy, numeracy, mechanical aptitude and cognitive reasoning.  Individual assessment ensures that only suitable prospects are put forward to employers for consideration.”

TTS has well-established business partnerships with the main employers in the transport and motor sectors in Northern Ireland.  Current partners on the ApprenticeshipsNI programme include a variety of franchise brands such as BMW, Mercedes, Ford, VW, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Renault, Kia, Hyundai and Fiat.

TTS train apprentices for Charles Hurst Group, The Agnew Group, Donnelly Group and TrustFord, and at the heavy vehicle end of the industry TTS partner employers include Dennison Commercials (Volvo), Road Trucks (Scania), TBF Thompson (DAF), NI Trucks (Iveco) and Diamond Trucks (Renault).  TTS also helps recruit and train motivated, job-ready young people who are keen to begin their journey in the industry for smaller independent employers and family businesses throughout Northern Ireland.

Positive Responses

Dominic Kelly, Training Manager for Charles Hurst Group, had this to say: “Last year TTS helped us to recruit six aftersales advisor apprentices and four technician apprentices for our franchise dealerships in Belfast and Newtownabbey.  The aftersales role is new and is our way of providing an exciting career path for young people entering the motor industry.”

Isobel Allison, Group HR Manager for NI Trucks, added: “TTS provide initial filtering and testing of applicants for our depots in Mallusk and Portadown and this ensures that we get the right young people into the company.  TTS technical trainers also visit our workplace on a regular basis to assess apprentice competence on the job”.

The Ballymena-based Wrights Group enjoys a close working relationship with TTS for the delivery of its vehicle body and paint apprenticeship. Commented John Lynham, Wrights Group Academy Manager: “As a global business we instinctively know that TTS will deliver highly skilled individuals at the end of the training programme who consistently add value and quality to our paint and finish process.”

From its purpose-built, modern facility at Nutts Corner Business Park, TTS currently provides training on a ‘block release’ basis for more than 200 employed apprentices.  Each apprentice attends the training centre one week every two months for a blend of workshop practical tasks, classroom theory and e-learning.  After three years they are fully qualified in their chosen vocational area with Institute of Motor Industry (IMI) Level 3 technical qualifications.

TTS has a strong pastoral element to its programmes to ensure young people are progressing well in their development and integrating well into their place of employment.

David Fullerton, Apprentice at AIR Commercial Services in Ballymena, commented: “I could have gone on to university after completing my A-Levels, but I decided on an apprenticeship and I’m really glad I chose this path.  I’ll be completing a Level 3 apprenticeship in heavy vehicle repair this summer and I’m looking forward to a successful career in the industry.”

Apprentice Matthew Mount agreed: “I have just completed my apprenticeship in car body repair at Wrights Accident Repair Centre in Dromore.  I’ve really enjoyed the experience and have now got IMI Level 2 and 3 qualifications through TTS which will serve me well in my future career.”

TTS is interested in hearing from young people aged 16-25 who are keen to embark on a career in the motor or transport industries and take advantage of the opportunities being provided by employers throughout Northern Ireland. Equally the business is keen to speak to local employers who would be interested in helping young people to ‘join the TTS 100’ in 2019.