Sapphire Vehicle Services runs innovative technician conversion scheme

Independent HGV maintenance provider Sapphire Vehicle Services is doing its bit to help the shortage of qualified truck technicians with an innovative training scheme to upskill recruits from the car and van sectors. Its first batch of six technicians are nearing the end of their conversion course, and the next intake is already being planned. The scheme runs in parallel with Sapphire’s existing apprentice programme for new entrants.

The first qualification programme began in February, with the six undertaking six one-week blocks within a one-year period, while working full-time in Sapphire’s workshops across a 12-month period before being signed off as qualified HGV technicians.

Sapphire’s group operations manager Dave Williams said: “We’re always on the lookout for competent and experienced truck technicians but there’s a shortage of qualified people across the country, so we decided to be proactive and train our own. We’re taking car and van technicians who are already level-three qualified, and giving them an intensive, one-year course to equip them with the specialised knowledge and skills to work on heavy vehicles,”

31-year-old Isaac Adusei (pictured), has eight years’ experience working on cars and vans, is one two trainees based at the Northampton depot. He said: “I’ve always been interested in developing my skill set and learning more about different vehicle classes, so the opportunity to join this programme was certainly attractive. Since joining I’ve already achieved my BPW Axles certification and am keen to carry on my training, even after this course is finished. I’ve also been really impressed with the set-up at Sapphire, where there is a very positive emphasis on staff development. I’ve been supported all the way, with mentoring from Depot Manager Garry Craddock and colleagues, and am looking forward to becoming a fully qualified member of the team.”

With a head office in Appleby Magna, Derbyshire, Sapphire has 16 workshops across the UK, with responsibility for maintaining 28,000 commercial vehicles, with its client base including major supermarkets, and has recently been awarded ISO9001:2015 accreditation.