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With training and staff development valued so highly at Bridgestone, the world’s number one tyre and rubber company is proud to build on its commitment to developing people with National Tyres and Autocare.

For a seventh consecutive year, Bridgestone is lending its support to National, courtesy of a number of ‘tyre toolbags’ to help their apprentices with their career adventures. The 30 month scheme is a new standard for the industry, with more customer interaction, ultimately aimed at the end-user.

Nationals’ externally assessed apprentice scheme is seen as one of the most impressive in the automotive industry and is now recognised by the Department for Education, with the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) awarding the qualification.

Bridgestone was keen to support the vocational offering by way of a branded hold-all for each learner for another year, containing a wide range of equipment to assist in both the classroom and in-branch.

In addition, the two companies are also working together to upskill National centre managers at selected branches, courtesy of a unique customer service training course. The City & Guilds offering is designed to improve the retail experience on all National branch forecourts.

Bridgestone’s MAPS courses have been described as ‘game-changing’, as training is given about understanding motorists’ unique driving habits and what to look out for when they arrive at the counter. Running in parallel with this is expert tuition on the merits of each and every tyre in the Bridgestone range and what each product is designed to do best.

Informed conclusions can then be made on the individual needs of each customer and the most appropriate recommendations can be made by the technician, rather than looking at a price tag alone. It is hoped that the provision will bring the fast-fit industry in line with many High Street shopping experiences, where assistants have been treating customers in a similar way for years.

National’s Group Training and Development Manager, Billy Mayley said: “Bridgestone’s association with our apprentice scheme continues to be a big coup for us. The company is the biggest tyre manufacturer in the world and is synonymous with quality.

“It is not difficult to impress a 16 or 17-year-old when you show them the Bridgestone tyre toolbags, because they all recognise the brand and have an affinity for it. This adds an element of kudos to our offering as a result.”

Billy said that Bridgestone’s City & Guilds MAPS training courses for selected National branches was also reaping dividends.

“The industry has struggled with its reputation for many years, but courses like the one Bridgestone is providing is helping to change perceptions. But to really change, you need to get the right people in the industry with the right skills. This is where Bridgestone continues to come into its own.”

Bridgestone’s training development manager Mark Fereday said: “We are huge believers in developing young talent and empowering existing talent, which is why we work so closely with National, as they share our commitment to the development of people.

“National are a very close, valued customer of ours and we are always keen to support them in any way we can.

“I have seen Nationals’ courses first hand and I have been extremely impressed. They are extremely thorough and we think it is important to be involved with worthy schemes like these when the opportunity arises.”