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L-R Host Gabby Logan, Kieran Bishop-Ryan (Motofix) collecting the Mentor of the Year award on behalf of Stuart Gore, Michael Beale (Motofix), Dean Lander (Thatcham Research)
L-R Host Gabby Logan, Kieran Bishop-Ryan (Motofix) collecting the Mentor of the Year award on behalf of Stuart Gore, Michael Beale (Motofix), Dean Lander (Thatcham Research)

Press release -

Thatcham Research celebrates exceptional repair industry talent helping to close the skills gap

  • Motofix’s Stuart Gore awarded Apprentice Mentor of the Year 2021
  • Kelly Viera from Solus awarded Apprentice of the Year 2021
  • BEN receive special recognition award for supporting the industry throughout the pandemic

Thatcham Research is today announcing the winners of its Apprentice and Apprentice Mentor of the Year Awards, which not only recognises exceptional new talent joining the industry but also the long-standing contribution of the Mentors that nurture them.

This year the ceremony took place at InterContinental London – the O2, on 11th October where the awards were handed out personally for the first time in two years.

In recognition of the vital part that mentors play in progressing talent, Thatcham Research awards the ‘Apprentice Mentor of the Year’ to acknowledge the hard work and effort they invest into their apprentices.

Stuart Gore of Motofix Accident and Repair Centre is the winner of this year’s Mentor of the Year award, for his unwavering support, guidance, and devotion. The award was collected on Stuart’s behalf by Kieran Bishop-Ryan, the apprentice who nominated him, as sadly Stuart passed away recently following an illness.

Kieran Bishop-Ryan said: “I am over the moon that Stuart has won this award. It is so well deserved, and he always put so much effort into supporting me. At the start of my apprenticeship, I fell behind, but he made sure to push me and get me back on track, involving me in everything so that I wouldn’t go down the wrong path. He even helped me pass my extra welding certificate with flying colours because any spare time he had, he would make sure I was practicing. If he knew you were trying your best, he would invest all his time into making sure you succeeded.”

Richard Scruton, Kieran’s manager added: “Stuart was a genuinely fantastic bloke, he wasn’t just Kieran’s mentor, he made sure he was approachable and available to support any apprentice that needed a push or for someone to lend an ear. With the current skills shortage, it’s really important to train up your own staff and I always knew that I could give Stuart an apprentice and, in a few years, have a fully-fledged employee. We’ve now got two of Stuart’s apprentices working in the team and I like to think we are keeping elements of his teaching and legacy with us.”

Dean Lander, Head of Repair Sector Services, Thatcham Research said: “This is an incredibly poignant moment for Stuart’s family, friends, colleagues, and his apprentice Kieran. Stuart was clearly a superb mentor, whose steadfast commitment to nurturing young people epitomised everything this award stands for.”

Recognising young talent 

The Apprentice of the Year award represents a continuation of the support Thatcham Research has given to apprentices throughout the pandemic, ensuring they have access to world class training and bring vital new skills into the industry.

Lander comments: “We are thrilled to recognise the hard work of apprentices with this award. The uncertainty and disruption of the past 18 months has significantly impacted on the apprenticeship experience. Its vital that the industry maintains its commitment to the provision of learning for apprentices whatever the circumstances, so that these future leaders have the skills and expertise to safely and effectively repair modern vehicles.”

Chosen by instructors and staff at Thatcham Research, the Apprentice of the Year 2021 award winner is…

Kelly Viera from Solus Accident and Repair Centre.

Kelly comments: “I’m shocked to have been nominated for this award, let alone win it! I am truly speechless as I feel we have all worked so hard and it could have been any one of us, but I am really proud of myself. When I first started, I didn’t have any experience in the industry and wasn’t the most confident in myself. The work I have done recently has shown how much I have improved, I can see my progress and I feel like my confidence has grown, inside and outside of work.

"It hasn’t always been easy over the last two years, trying to establish myself amongst my male peers as well as facing the stresses of furlough and the pandemic. However, Thatcham Research and Solus have supported us well along the way with the blended learning and so has my mentor, Adam Orchard, who was always there for me if I needed any advice or guidance.”

Lander adds: “A huge congratulations to Kelly for winning this award, it is truly well deserved. Kelly’s hard work and effort through this challenging year has not gone unnoticed. Thatcham Research is pleased to award Kelly with the Apprentice of the Year title and we wish them well in all their future endeavours, which we have no doubt will be very successful.”

Supporting the industry

In addition to the two outstanding winners of the Apprentice and Mentor of the Year Awards, a special recognition award was also presented to BEN, the automotive industry’s support service.

Presented by Thatcham Research and collected by BEN CEO Zara Ross, the award was given on behalf of the entire industry in recognition of BEN’s hard work and swift action throughout the pandemic. BEN reacted quickly to increase and adapt its services, especially its much-needed mental health support.

Lander said: “BEN is well known and appreciated across the industry for the support it offers to employees and staff through difficult times. We are incredibly pleased to present this Special Recognition award to BEN, it could not be more deserved.”

--ENDS--

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Thatcham Research is the independent voice of automotive safety, security & repair, advising motorists, insurers and vehicle manufacturers to help reduce accident frequency, severity and costs and to realise the vision of ‘Safer cars, fewer crashes’, while driving standards in vehicle security.

As well as its world leading crash and track research, Thatcham Research develops repair methods amongst a number of other products and services within the collision repair industry for insurers, motor manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

In addition, Thatcham Research has administered the Association of British Insurer’s (ABI) Group Rating system for the past 50 years. Group Rating is an advisory system intended to provide insurers with the relative risk of private cars and light commercial vehicles.

A founder member of the international Research Council for Automobile Repairs (RCAR), Thatcham Research has also been a member of the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) since 2004.

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As the UK's only insurer funded automotive research centre, Thatcham Research enjoy a wide remit at the forefront of the latest vehicle technology. Thatcham's leading work in vehicle safety and security has a vital role in shaping the designs of new vehicles, whilst the centre is also seen as a key industry player at the forefront of driving standards in vehicle body repair.

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