BMW welcomes new apprentices

BMW Group UK has welcomed its 2015 intake of apprentices at its UK MINI and BMW production sites in Oxford, Swindon and Hams Hall near Birmingham.

It is also celebrating the first success of its Girls Go Technical programme with four female apprentices joining the company’s apprenticeship scheme as a direct result of having participated in the work experience programme.

The 43 new recruits will join nearly 140 existing apprentices currently undergoing training across the company’s UK manufacturing operations, with some able to progress beyond NVQ level to achieving degree level qualifications.

MINI Plant Oxford has seen 28 new apprentices take up places in a variety of areas ranging from finance and logistics to engineering and IT. Technical apprentices will attend the plant’s bespoke training school, featuring state-of-the-art classrooms, dedicated computer study areas and a fully-equipped workshop.

With 10 new apprentices at the Swindon pressings plant and a further five at the Hams Hall engine plant, apprenticeships last between three and four years and cover a wide range of skills from human resources and business to electrical maintenance and engineering. The training leads to an NVQ level three qualification and some young people will have the possibility to progress right through to degree level in the course of their career in BMW Group UK.

Frank Bachmann, managing director, MINI Plant Oxford and Swindon said, ‘Investment in young people is a key part of our plant development strategy and it is vital that we attract the very best young talent to ensure the business has the right skills for the future. We are delighted to welcome these young people on to our apprenticeship scheme.’

Commenting on the apprenticeship programme, Helen Evans, a maintenance apprentice at MINI Plant Oxford said, ‘Girls Go Technical gave me the opportunity to reignite my passion for engineering and follow a career path that I thought was no longer possible having just successfully completed a degree in politics. I’m delighted to have the chance to join this apprenticeship programme.’

Launch of 2015 Girls Go Technical programme

BMW Group UK has also launched its 2015 Girls Go Technical programme giving girls an exciting and unique opportunity to follow MINI production from body panels to engine building to a completed car rolling off the line. The programme encourages young females aged between 15 and 24 to consider a technical career within automotive manufacturing and will run during half term from Monday 26th October to Friday 30thOctober at the three plants in the company’s MINI and BMW UK production network in Birmingham, Oxford and Swindon.

Simon Farrall, head of apprentice and associate training at BMW Group UK said, ‘We’re delighted to see the first girls joining our apprenticeship scheme as a direct result of our Girls Go Technical programme. The automotive industry is still considered as a more typical career path for boys and our programme is designed to address this inequality and encourage more girls to consider a technical career in this field.’

‘On completion of this programme, the participants will have gained an insight into the manufacturing processes and experienced the day-to-day challenges encountered by engineers and technical apprentices as well as fine tuning their interview and job application skills.’

The girls will spend four days at the heart of MINI and BMW UK’s production network not only at the manufacturing site closest to their home region for in-depth work experience but also touring the MINI plant at Oxford where they will see MINIs being built.  All participants will have the opportunity to take part in activities in the Plant Oxford training school.

‘Working in the car manufacturing industry is an absolutely amazing experience’, said Rebecca Pallot, a current apprentice at MINI Plant Oxford. ‘I’ve always wanted to be able to build cars and with BMW Group’s support I can now pursue my dreams. I hope my experience will encourage other girls to apply for our apprenticeship programme.’

Now in its third year, the Girls Go Technical programme is part of the annual UK government-industry initiative ‘See Inside Manufacturing’.

Applications for a place on the scheme in October 2015 can be made via:

The entry criteria for the programme are four GCSEs at grade A-C to include Maths, English and one science subject and predicted grades will be accepted.