College’s Suffolk campus launches new facility for vehicle maintenance apprentices

Jane Townsend, acting principal at Easton and Otley College, and High Sheriff of Suffolk Geoffrey P

Jane Townsend, acting principal at Easton and Otley College, and High Sheriff of Suffolk Geoffrey Probert at the opening of Easton and Otley College's new vehicle maintenance facility at Otley. Picture: JOHN NICE - Credit: John Nice

A new vehicle maintenance facility for apprentices in East Anglia has been launched at Easton and Otley College’s Suffolk campus.

Leon Fearn, an apprentice at Easton and Otley College, who will benefit from its new vehicle mainten

Leon Fearn, an apprentice at Easton and Otley College, who will benefit from its new vehicle maintenance facility at Otley. Picture: JOHN NICE - Credit: John Nice

High Sheriff of Suffolk Geoffrey Probert, who was at Otley to officially open the centre, was joined by representatives from the Institute the Motor Industry (IMI), Ipswich Buses and other local firms.

The dedicated vehicle service and maintenance workshop, which will be used to train light and heavy goods vehicle maintenance technicians, is thought to be the first facility in the region to teach heavy goods vehicle maintenance qualifications.

Interim principal Jan Townsend said: “As a college we need to work closely with industry so that we can support new generations of trainees to fill positions in the job market.

“It became clear that when talking with the motor industry that we needed to try and champion engineering careers – particularly in relation to opportunities in light and heavy service vehicle maintenance. Therefore, we have responded to these needs by investing in a brand new training centre.”

From left, High Sheriff of Suffolk Geoffrey Probert and wife Nella, Mark Pendlington, chair of gover

From left, High Sheriff of Suffolk Geoffrey Probert and wife Nella, Mark Pendlington, chair of governors, at the new vehicle maintenance facility at Easton and Otley College. Picture: JOHN NICE - Credit: John Nice

The college currently has more than 50 vehicle maintenance apprentices, and numbers look set to rise. The centre is part of a continuing college plan to support motor vehicle engineering apprentices.

Easton and Otley recently agreed a deal with Ipswich Buses and welcomed a donation of two new buses to the Otley campus for students to hone their skills.

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Nigel Daniels, engineering manager at Ipswich Buses, said: “We currently have three apprentices with the college and we are looking to take on more in the future. Apprentices and apprenticeships are the future. This is a college I would recommend to others.”

Leon Fearn, 17, from Tattingstone, who is study for a level three apprenticeship qualification at the college and works for Paul Banyard at PB Autos welcomed the new centre. “The new facility looks amazing. It’s a lovely place to study,” he said.

Geoffrey Probert chatting to students at the new vehicle maintenance facility at Easton and Otley Co

Geoffrey Probert chatting to students at the new vehicle maintenance facility at Easton and Otley College. Picture: JOHN NICE - Credit: John Nice

As well as supporting apprenticeships in vehicle maintenance, the college has a number of apprenticeship vacancies to fill in areas such as agriculture, business, floristry, horticulture and other professions.