Home Apprentice Superb Collaboration between Simpsons SKODA and Blackburn College

Superb Collaboration between Simpsons SKODA and Blackburn College

Blackburn College

A Lancashire motor dealer has re-signed an agreement with Blackburn College to ensure that future mechanics have the skills the changing motor industry needs.

Simpsons SKODA will continue to work with Blackburn College to run a scholarship programme which includes valuable on the job training at Blackburn College’s £5.5m Regional Automotive Technology Hub (RATH), as well as offer work-experience opportunities, work-placements and student masterclasses.

The collaboration has already proved fruitful with students receiving masterclasses from SKODA Master Technicians.

Simpsons SKODA have also led off-site activities which have included students being able to experience life as member of the service crew during the Pirelli Richard Burns Foundation Rally in Carlisle.

Neil Simpson, Managing Director of Simpsons SKODA in Preston and Colne, has re-signed the memorandum of understanding with Blackburn College, to help make students “work ready”.

Managing Director Neil Simpson was involved in the design of Blackburn College’s Regional Automotive Technology Hub during the build phase and Darren Bould, Simpson SKODA’s Master Technician, has contributed to curriculum design and undertaken training with students.

Neil said: “I’m delighted to continue our superb partnership with Blackburn College. The College’s motor vehicle facilities are quite simply some of the best facilities of their kind anywhere in the UK.”

“I’m really pleased to re-sign the agreement, ensuring that the College’s investment pays real dividends for the students, ensuring we produce the high level calibre candidates that are best placed to meet the demands of the fast paced, dynamic motor industry of today.”

David Blacklidge, Head of Studies for Motor Vehicle and Engineering at Blackburn College said:  “The agreement with Simpsons SKODA defines a number of activities and enhancements that will help students develop and gain employability skills.

“This links the College with industry in order to create a real world learning environment with new work experience opportunities to help students get into employment.

“It’s collaborations with employers such as Simpsons SKODA that have led to Blackburn College being named Top 10 in England for Apprentice success and 9 out of 10 graduates being in work or further study, just 6 months after graduation.”

The purpose-built Motor Vehicle facilities at Blackburn College include an MOT testing lane, a rolling road, open plan workshops, a motor vehicle diagnostic iLab, five classrooms and an IT suite.

The RATH accommodates a range of courses including Light Vehicle, Auto Electrical and Motorsport, which are accredited by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) Awards, alongside a range of professional development courses.


Places are still available on a range of Motor Vehicle courses starting in September 2017. For more information visit www.blackburn.ac.uk.

Sources: Top 10 in England for Apprenticeship Success: 2015-2016 SFA National Achievement Rate Tables, 16-18 advanced apprenticeships timely achievement, GFE colleges, cohort size greater than 30. 

9 out of 10 students in work or further study within 6 months. Destinations of Leavers of Higher Education, known outcomes, 2015.

Andrew Mann
After 34 years working in numerous operational and communications disciplines for three FTSE companies (Yorkshire Electricity; Meggitt and BAE Systems), at over a dozen locations, on 24 November 2016, I became the inaugural editor of Business Lancashire.Business Lancashire is a good news, Lancashire focused, business website and daily newsletter. It is a partnership between The Samuel James Group and the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.Over the years, I have written hundreds of press releases, features for trade magazines, copy for websites and brochures, edited in-house magazines and newsletters, as well as presenting a radio programme on Chorley FM. This experience has given me the ideal background for editing Business Lancashire.