The Ladder Of Opportunity at Ford: from Apprentice to Chairman

March 6, 2017


This year’s National Apprenticeship Week theme is the ‘Ladder of Opportunity’, so we got together with some of our own apprentices, past and present, to tell us what their apprenticeship means to them, and the opportunities it provides at Ford. Some Ford Directors and Managers also started their journey as a Ford Apprentice themselves. Take a look:
We will be announcing our next Apprenticeship vacancies in the coming months, here.


Andy Barratt, Chairman and Managing Director, Ford of Britain

The ultimate example of how Apprentices can climb the ‘ladder of opportunity’ at Ford is Andy Barratt.  Starting out as a Business Technician Apprentice at Dagenham, he has now reached the highest possible position in Ford of Britain.

“I started my apprenticeship at Dagenham as a then business technician and never looked back. Here I am today as the Managing Director & Chairman of Ford of Britain.

I am passionate about the Ford products we build and sell, and equally passionate about the value of our apprenticeships scheme.”


Niamh Brown, IT Higher Apprentice, IT Architecture

“I went to different open days at universities and many careers events, but once I learned of what the Ford IT higher apprentice scheme offered, I knew this would be the perfect option for me – working full time in a tech role and earning my ITMB honours degree at the same time. I would recommend apprenticeships to anyone looking at career opportunities.”


Adekunle Omisakin, Engineering Higher Apprentice

“I chose the apprenticeship route because it will give me a head start on the career ladder in comparison to someone who went to university. Also I will not incur debt, but get paid instead, so choosing a Ford apprenticeship that was going to sponsor my degree was a no-brainer.”


Charlotte Matthews, Engineering Higher Apprentice

“With a BTEC level 3 and an NVQ level 3 both in engineering, the opportunity offered by the Ford Apprentice scheme seemed like the best way to progress. The best bit is most of the colleagues I work with now started their career through the apprenticeship route, so they are very supportive too. In the end I get to earn a degree, whilst earning a competitive salary.”


Leo Rocha, Ford Dealer Network Apprentice, Aberdeen

“I enjoyed my apprenticeship because I prefer to do something that is hands-on, so it was definitely a good way to learn for me. I would say to anyone who is thinking about an apprenticeship to go for something that they feel they really want to do, because then they will enjoy doing it and get the most out of it.”


Jory Day, IT Higher Apprentice, Android developer

“For me the opportunity to be able to learn and work at the same time within an international company like Ford was too great to turn down. I’m currently working within the FordPass EU team as an Android Developer, however have also had opportunities looking at innovation and the dealership space as well. Looking back, I wouldn’t change the choices I made in joining Ford and would highly suggest it to anyone looking for an alternative to the typical university route.”


Elizabeth Wright, Advanced Apprentice

“Prior to this apprenticeship I was unsure of my career, but a family member told me about the Ford Apprentice scheme. Here I am today learning to gain qualifications, whilst also receiving hands-on experience. The training has given me confidence in my abilities and has unlocked my love for engineering – a career path I had never previously considered: Now my future is made, thanks to Ford.”


Samuel Rohrbasser, IT Higher Apprentice

“I joined the Ford IT Higher Apprenticeship back in September 2017. It was a great opportunity to apply my existing knowledge of Ford Motor Company, Learn, and develop new technical and personal skills in a totally different work environment. On top of that, earn a Degree in Digital Technology Solutions (Business/IT Hybrid Degree) that is fully sponsored by Ford Motor Company. As an Apprentice, I find myself being fully supported in my Degree study, Workplace Learning & Self Development, which really helps lay the foundations for my Career.”

Martin Tomkins, Senior Engineering Manager Dagenham Engine Plant

“I started my apprenticeship at Dagenham as a Toolmaker and now lead the engineering team in the largest Ford engine plant.

My career with Ford started due to an obsession with our products in the 1980’s and this has continued throughout my career. What has also stayed with me is the desire to develop our apprentices are ensure they are offered the same opportunities that I have had.”


Maria Brooks, Craft (Advanced) Apprentice, Electrical Maintenance

Maria, a former operator at Ford, was the first adult female apprentice at Ford’s Bridgend plant. She was also named as last year’s Apprentice of the Year by the National Training Federation of Wales.

“When I was growing up, apprenticeships were never presented as an option for me. I wish I had known about the fantastic apprenticeships available when I was at school. Changing direction to become an electrical apprentice, with Ford Motor Company, has given me countless opportunities to learn and build on my skills. I would highly recommend looking into apprenticeships for anyone struggling to decide upon a career path.”


Lewis McGrath, IT Higher Apprentice

“I became an apprentice because it suited my learning style best. ‘Hands on’ approach helped me understand new concepts and skills better. The Ford Apprenticeship scheme offered me an opportunity to gain work experience, alongside studying part time for a degree. The flexibility and suitability of a degree apprenticeship meant that I was able to support my career aspirations.”


Meem Islam, IT Higher Apprentice

“I heard about the Ford apprenticeship scheme through my Mum who also works for Ford Motor Company. She’s received a place on a sponsored degree programme when she was 19, so I knew that there was no harm in applying as it could potentially be a career for life! I’d strongly recommend apprenticeships to any students who currently thinking about what steps to take next. You get paid to develop your skills and the retention rate for employers keeping you on after the apprenticeship is growing year on year, so there is a strong likelihood that you have a guaranteed job at the end of whereas with university there’s no surety.”


Alwyn Laudat-Wade, Ford Dealer Network Apprentice, Trust Ford, Stamford Hill

“I chose to train as a technician rather than stay in education because of a passion for vehicle body design and build. As my understanding developed, so did my interest in understanding how the build and design are achieved at an engineering level.”


What is an Apprenticeship?
Apprenticeships offer you the opportunity to learn whilst you work. You gain qualifications in the field you are working in whilst you learn. The benefits are that you’re gaining excellent experience, and industry expert support, whilst not running up a large University debt.


In which fields can I do an Apprenticeship at Ford?
The options include Engineering, IT, and Finance. These fields could lead to a career in engineering new electric vehicle powertrains, developing app software that lets your phone talk to your car, and working on product development for the UK’s best-selling CV: the Ford Transit.


So which Apprenticeship is for me?
We have three levels of Apprenticeship:


GCSE Qualified:
• Advanced Apprenticeship
• Ford Dealer Network Apprenticeship
A Level Qualified:
• Higher/Degree  Apprenticeship


Advanced Apprenticeship

The Advanced Apprenticeship in Engineering is a dynamic learning programme for individuals who are passionate about Engineering. Designed to combine on and off the job training and develop skills to support the manufacture of the latest Ford Products.
Example trades include:
• Electro / Mechanical
• Toolmaker
• Vehicle Prototype Mechanics
• Vehicle Trim


Ford Dealer Network Apprenticeship

(Offered by the dealer network, not Ford Motor Company)

Recruiting 500 Apprentices a year, the programme offers a range lasting from 12 months to 3 years. The technical programmes combine hands-on workshop training with block release for college training and study. The non-technical programmes are delivered in the workplace.

Opportunities include:
• Car Technician
• Management
• Team Leading
• Vehicle Body Paint Technician


Higher/ Degree Apprenticeship

Engineering: A Ford Higher Apprenticeship in engineering includes a unique, full degree-level qualification, offering high-quality training in a range of engineering skills. The accredited Batchelor of Engineering (BEng Hons.) degree is delivered by the University of Greenwich .

IT: The Degree Apprenticeship will be part of an exciting and dynamic programme, in partnership with the University of Greenwich, that equips Apprentices with both the business knowledge and technical skills that are required to drive a successful and rewarding IT career. The programme will compose of carefully selected placements in major global teams across the Ford Information Technology organisation which aligns to the qualifications you will achieve. The programme provides a path towards a Batchelor of Science (BSc Hons.) degree in Digital and Technology Solutions ), also with the University of Greenwich.
Finance: Ford’s Higher Apprenticeship in finance leads to a Diploma in Business Accounting (CIMA) and Management Accounting Practice Diploma, with BPP Professional Education.


We will be announcing our next Apprenticeship vacancies in the coming months, here.

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