Mercedes-Benz wins top Apprenticeship gong

The Mercedes-Benz Apprentice Programme has won a top award from the National Apprenticeship Service.

Mercedes-Benz was chosen as the winner of the Large Employer category for companies with between 250 and 4,999 staff at an awards ceremony at Grosvenor House, London, where the UK’s elite apprentices and apprentice employers were honoured. The company, which had already been chosen as East Midlands regional winner, was also named in the Centrica Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list, which recognises excellence in businesses that employ apprentices.

Judges praised the success of the Mercedes-Benz scheme, which has welcomed almost 3,000 apprentices for technician and parts specialist training since its inception in 1995 – 65% of whom are still working within the retailer network.

Apprenticeships and skills minister Robert Halfon said, ‘Congratulations to Mercedes-Benz for their success in this year’s National Apprenticeship Awards, which have showcased so much inspiring talent, dedication and ensures that apprenticeships get the prestige they deserve.

‘I am always proud to see how many employers and apprentices get involved in apprenticeships across the country, helping to give a ladder of opportunity to people and deliver quality skills for employers. I hope their involvement encourages others to do the same to ensure social justice for all.’

The Mercedes-Benz Programme, which began with just 31 apprentices 22 years ago, has recorded 98% growth in the past four years and accepted a record intake of 253 students in 2016 at its purpose-built Training Academy in Milton Keynes after receiving more than 6,500 applications for places.

With a completion rate of over 91% compared to the national average of 69%, the three-year, Advanced Apprenticeship Programme continues to build on its reputation within the training sector. It has achieved Grade One Outstanding status for Learner Outcomes from Ofsted and recorded an impressive score in the Annual Learner and Employer Satisfaction Survey where over nine out of ten students and companies said that they would recommend the Mercedes-Benz scheme to others.

In line with brand expansion and an ongoing focus to provide customers with an unrivalled retail experience, 16% continued year-on-year growth is forecast and there are now plans to expand the Programme into other disciplines.

Andrew Mallery, training operations director, Mercedes-Benz, said, ‘We are incredibly proud of the Programme and the opportunities that we are able to offer to ensure our Apprentice graduates become our stars of tomorrow. Mercedes-Benz recognises that highly skilled and motivated employees are key to succeeding in serving and retaining our customers. With this in mind, the Programme will continue to support the needs of our organisation as it is an integral element of our future brand expansion.

‘This latest award and recognition would not have been possible without the commitment and dedication of an exceptional team who make the Programme the success that it is. We hope that our success encourages other businesses to consider apprenticeships as a valuable asset to their companies too.’