Precision is key for Brandon to hit the high standards of manufacturers
Brandon Walsh is an apprentice spray painter at Arnold Clark
How long have you been an apprentice and what drew you to an apprenticeship with Arnold Clark in the first place?
I’ve been an apprentice for four years now. What drew me to starting one in the first place was the immediate stability that an apprenticeship offers. I knew that I would be learning and developing myself, so being able to also earn at the same time seemed like a no-brainer to me.
What is your Arnold Clark apprenticeship, and what are your duties?
I’m an apprentice spray painter; this means that my duties mainly involve prepping and painting cars to the manufacturer standards. As part of a team that makes sure the cars are properly prepared before they can be sold or returned to their owner, I play a big role in the workshop prepping and refinishing stages.
How are you tested, and what qualifications will you earn?
We are tested all the way through the apprenticeship to make sure that we are on track to earning our qualifications. This is largely done at GTG Training, our learning centres, but we also submit evidence of our work through Smart Assessor that our tutors can look at digitally.
So far, I’ve achieved my SVQ in vehicle refinishing.
Is the apprenticeship as you imagined it would be?
Absolutely. I came into the apprenticeship looking for stability while I could develop my skills, and Arnold Clark has been fantastic in providing that platform for me. It’s now been four years, I’m earning my qualifications, working as part of a fantastic team and creating a career that will support me for the rest of my life.
What have been some of the difficulties so far?
The apprenticeship has been fairly straightforward in a way. There is a lot of new information to take in, especially at the start, but when I got into the rhythm of it all, with the help of my tutors of course, I found myself working through my tasks and planning my next goals as a matter of course.
Learning the technical skills needed for the apprenticeship was difficult, however. On the surface, they may seem straightforward, but the level of accuracy needed meant that I had to really dedicate myself to mastering them to ensure that I was hitting the manufacturer’s standards.
What have been some of the key skills you’ve needed through your apprenticeship with Arnold Clark?
Listening! I cannot stress this enough, but active listening has been the key skill throughout my apprenticeship. I feel that is probably true for any learning environment, but it is especially important when working somewhere like the Bodyshop. Not listening doesn’t just put you in danger, it can put everyone around you in danger as well, so good communication between you and your team is an absolute must.
On top of that, the skill that I’ve found useful has been learning to work efficiently rather than just hard. At the start of my apprenticeship, even though I was working hard, there was a lot of wasted time and effort. Learning the most efficient ways to do things not only makes it easier for me to complete my work, but it also speeds up the entire process for the whole team. Just be prepared for a lot of trial and error while learning the most efficient process!
What has been the highlight so far?
Earning my SVQ qualification has definitely been the highlight so far. It’s proof that I am progressing in my career, moving forward as a person, and honestly feels like I’m being recognised for four years of hard work.
In your own words, what advice do you have for someone interested in an apprenticeship?
Go for it! There’s nothing stopping you from learning new skills and building your own career, so just go for it.
An apprenticeship is a great way to get started in a career; it opens new doors for you and provides a stability that you can rely on.