New facilities drive up skills

The Oxford Times: Trainer Rangit Jiwa, right, working with apprentice Philippa Napier Buy this photo » Trainer Rangit Jiwa, right, working with apprentice Philippa Napier

A NEW training school designed to boost the skills of workers at the Cowley Mini plant has been unveiled.

The facility features state-of-the-art classrooms, dedicated computer study areas and a fully-equipped workshop and will be used by the plant’s 3,700 workers as well as its 85 apprentices.

Philippa Napier, 18, a former pupil of Lord Williams’s School in Thame, is an engineering technician apprentice who will be using the new facility.

She said: “So far the apprenticeship has surpassed my expectations and the skills I’m learning are to a very high standard. The new training school facilities are exceptional which has made the job even more enjoyable.”

Plant managing director Frank Bachmann said: “The training and development of young people is a vital aspect of our role and responsibility as an employer. The opening of the new training school is a clear indication of how important skills are to us.

“Apprenticeships are highly valued by the plant for the blend of knowledge, skills and practical experience they offer.”

“We hope that by giving young people an insight into Plant Oxford, many will be encouraged to apply for an apprenticeship here.”

The opening of the centre coincides with the visit to the plant of more than 100 youngsters from county schools as part of the Government’s See Inside Manufacturing programme.

The scheme is designed to showcase the wide range of career opportunities in the UK car industry as well as stressing its importance to the economy as a whole.

Apprentices at the BMW-owned plant train for between three and four years. They gain a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) level three and some go on to gain a university degree.

Skills range from human resources and business administration to electrical maintenance and engineering.

Business Minister Michael Fallon said: “Companies in the automotive sectors like BMW need a wide range of technical and other skills and can offer extremely rewarding career opportunities in a modern and inspiring working environment in return.”

Youngsters visiting the plant are also encouraged to apply for an apprenticeship – find out more by visiting the dedicated Facebook page, facebook.com/BmwCareersUK

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