From Little Acorns.

Honda honours the latest crop of car and motorcycle technicians who have just graduated from its state-of-the-art training and personal development facility, The Honda Institute

At the end of last month, the Honda Technician class of 2003 gathered together with their friends and families at The Honda Institute to be presented with their diplomas by Ken Keir, Managing Director of Honda (UK) and Senior Vice President of Honda Motor Europe.

This year 38 apprentices, all technicians from Honda’s car and motorcycle networks, graduated from the Honda Modern Apprenticeship Programme. All the graduates have completed a 3-year Advanced Modern Apprenticeship Programme, a scheme accredited by both City & Guilds and the Motor Industry Training Council (MITC). This MITC Apprenticeship includes a City & Guilds NVQ level 3 in Vehicle Maintenance & Repair, the Key Skills Award and the Honda Institute Maintenance Technician Award.

Throughout their time on the programme the budding technicians have been trained in their own dealerships and at either the Honda Institute near Heathrow or Doncaster Garage Training Association by dedicated Honda Modern Apprenticeship Technical Trainers.

The Mistress of Ceremonies for the graduation was TV motoring presenter Vicki Butler-Henderson, who took the opportunity to talk to Ken Keir about his own formative years as an apprentice technician in the motor trade and about the role of The Honda Institute.

"From very modest beginnings in Tokyo 55 years ago, Honda has developed into one of the world’s leading engineering companies," says Ken Keir. "If Mr Honda were alive today he would be ecstatic with what we have achieved. The Honda Institute has become the benchmark for specialist training and personal development for the whole of Europe and the apprentice graduates we are honouring here today are the latest in a new breed of engineers who will ensure continued growth of the automotive and motorcycle sectors in the UK."

"The industry has developed almost beyond any recognition since my formative days as an apprentice," added Keir. "The skills needed to deal with today’s car and motorcycle technologies are much more sophisticated than when I trained with Austin Morris."

After the presentation, the graduates and their guests departed for a celebratory test drive at the nearby Princes Club water-sports centre, where a long line of Honda products from quad bikes and power boats to sports cars and scooters were available for all to try out. "These technicians have put in three years of hard work and I think it’s only fitting, that after the serious business of graduating from their apprenticeships they all get to enjoy the very things that make Honda so special - our products," concluded Geoff Matthews, Head of The Honda Institute.

Published 10 November 2003 Melanie Carter

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