National award wins for classic vehicle apprentices

Two Bicester-based apprentices were presented with awards at the UK’s biggest classic car show.

Matt Gamble and Joe Mellor, who both study at Banbury and Bicester College, were named winners at the Classic Vehicle Motor Show awards, held at Birmingham’s NEC.

Matt was named best apprentice and presented with a cheque by the Morris Minor Owners Club, while Joe received a toolbox set worth £1,700 in recognition of a specialist tool he made for repairing Alvis cars. The prizes were two of only three awarded at the event.

Both Matt and Joe are studying the apprenticeship in classic vehicle restoration at Banbury and Bicester College. The teaching takes place at a specialist workshop at Bicester Heritage with the apprenticeship delivered by Activate Enterprise.

Teacher Dhugal Hunt said: “To win two of the three awards up for grabs at the show is a great accolade for the classic vehicle restoration apprenticeship, which is developing the skills needed for the future of this growing industry. Matt and Joe should be very proud of their achievements.

“Apprentices and students from our full-time programme enjoyed the opportunity to attend the Classic Motor Show, where more than 2,500 classic cars and motorcycles were on display. To be able to witness Matt and Joe receive their awards was an added bonus.”

The classic vehicle restoration apprenticeship was developed following research by the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs, which showed a growing skills gap in the classic vehicle industry. It is estimated that the UK needs more than 1,000 new apprentices to help replace an ageing workforce.