Thatcham Research unveils award winners

Thatcham Research has announced the winners of its Apprentice and Apprentice Mentor of the Year Awards.

The awards recognise new talent joining the industry as well as the long-standing contribution of the mentors who nurture them.

This year’s Mentor of the Year award goes to Stuart Gore of Motofix Accident and Repair Centre, while the Apprentice of the Year is Kelly Viera from Solus Accident and Repair Centre.

Viera said: “I’m shocked to have been nominated for this award, let alone win it. I am truly speechless as I feel we have all worked so hard and it could have been any one of us, but I am really proud of myself. When I first started, I didn’t have any experience in the industry and wasn’t the most confident in myself. The work I have done recently has shown how much I have improved, I can see my progress and I feel like my confidence has grown, inside and outside of work.

“It hasn’t always been easy over the last two years, trying to establish myself among my male peers as well as facing the stresses of furlough and the pandemic. However, Thatcham Research and Solus have supported us well along the way with the blended learning and so has my mentor, Adam Orchard, who was always there for me if I needed any advice or guidance.”

Meanwhile, Stuart Gore’s award was collected on his behalf by Kieran Bishop-Ryan, the apprentice who nominated him, after the mentor passed away recently following an illness.

Bishop-Ryan said: “I am over the moon that Stuart has won this award. It is so well deserved, and he always put so much effort into supporting me. At the start of my apprenticeship, I fell behind, but he made sure to push me and get me back on track, involving me in everything so that I wouldn’t go down the wrong path. He even helped me pass my extra welding certificate with flying colours because any spare time he had, he would make sure I was practicing. If he knew you were trying your best, he would invest all his time into making sure you succeeded.”

Dean Lander, head of repair sector services, Thatcham Research said: “This is an incredibly poignant moment for Stuart’s family, friends, colleagues, and his apprentice Kieran. Stuart was clearly a superb mentor, whose steadfast commitment to nurturing young people epitomised everything this award stands for.”