A former Stratford-upon-Avon College student is well on the way to fulfil his dream of becoming a mechanic.
Reiss Blackman from Solihull completed his Motor Vehicle course last year and is now working as a Motor Vehicle apprentice at Baldwins Lane Service Station in Birmingham.
Reiss’s journey to his present apprenticeship, which is overseen by Stratford-upon-Avon College’s partner college, Solihull College & University Centre, was straightforward. Leaving school at 16, he had no trouble deciding what to do next – studying Motor Vehicle at Stratford was the obvious choice. “I’ve been fascinated by cars all my life and I wanted to learn as much as I could about them.”
And for Reiss, this was certainly the right decision. Reflecting on his time at the College compared to his earlier studies at school, he commented: “Learning at the College was definitely a better experience for me. I found I could learn a lot more easily because it was such a hands-on practical course.”
To complete the work experience component of Stratford’s Motor Vehicle course, Reiss was taken on by Baldwins Lane Service Station, who subsequently offered him a Saturday morning job on a trial basis. He clearly impressed the team. He had not been working there long before they suggested he started an apprenticeship with them once he had finished his college course, and they now employ him full time.
Reiss firmly believes he has the College to thank for preparing him for the industry and for his current job. “The Stratford course helped me with everything. When I started it, all I could say was ‘I like cars’! It’s thanks to the College that I got my job here at the garage.”
Today he is thriving in his apprenticeship. He continues to develop his skills: on a day-to-day basis, he is now completing services for customers and changing car exhausts and brakes.
And the self-assurance initially gained on Stratford’s course continues to increase. He is more confident and happier to ask questions that will help with his learning, as John Linehan, Service Manager at Baldwins Lane Service Station – who describes Reiss as “the nicest lad you could ever meet” – has observed: “He is much more confident with the tasks he’s set” John commented. “If you ask him to do something, he’ll always carry out the task and he’s always happy to ask for help.”
Determined to become a mechanic, Reiss is quite clear about the path he wants his future to take. “Ever since I started studying motor vehicle, I’ve wanted to become a Master Technician. I want to learn as much as I can and progress in the industry.”
Thanks to the College’s Motor Vehicle course and his progression to the apprenticeship at Baldwins Lane, he is set to succeed in his dream.