07 February 2022
GTG is helping AA apprentices set the wheels into motion on their roadside recovery careers.
GTG and the Automobile Association (AA) have begun a training partnership which aims to bring through the roadside recovery provider’s next generation of HGV drivers.
The one-year apprentice journey, being overseen by GTG’s West Midlands training centre, aims to see the learners through to achieving a Category C+E Licence, meaning they can drive articulated trucks for the AA, and respond to roadside incidents by loading vehicles onto larger ones.
Megan Tench is one such candidate training to work in recovery patrol on the roads, and beginning her journey towards a Category C+E Licence which will enable her to drive larger trucks, and with that, transport more than one car in need of repair.
Beginning her apprenticeship in January this year, Megan has started out by shadowing mentors and learning fundamental skills for working at the roadside.
Megan said: ‘My training started in January 2022 so for the first few weeks it has been important to take everything in and to absorb as much as I can.
‘We have had an induction with GTG which explained the different stages of our apprenticeship in more detail, and have completed study days at the AA’s Oldbury site, following our induction.
‘It has been really interesting so far and it’s amazing to think that after only a few weeks, you can look back and realise you have already learned things about the role.’
Based in Leicester, she and colleagues can cover a wide area of the Midlands, including busy motorways at peak times of the day, and large towns & cities. Whilst that will present a wide range of recovery jobs on a daily basis, Megan is already looking forward to the challenge, explaining a dual motivation for taking on the journey towards a C+E licence.
She said: ‘On any given day we could be working anywhere, from big cities to quieter country roads, or at the side of the motorway - and you never know from day to day which vehicles you might be working on - but that’s all part of the interest of the job.
‘I will enjoy solving problems but most of all, it will be a big satisfaction to help people to get back on the road again. This is something I’ve been used to before from a young age. My father worked as an HGV driver & I can remember being in the cab with him at weekends when I was much younger, and going on drives. It’s a role I took a shine to at a young age, that I’ve always wanted to do, and I’m glad that I finally got round to looking into how to do it.
‘I saw the AA apprenticeship advertised and I went for it. I want to develop my skills now and develop my career here at the AA towards becoming a Recovery Patrol.
Nathan Watson, apprentice recovery operative from Sheffield who is only a few weeks into the apprenticeship, talked about his motivations to work in helping others by the roadside, and how he has already learned important skills for being out in the field.
Nathan said: ‘Working in recovery operations really appealed to me, you don’t know what you’re going to be working on each day.
‘Whilst I am based in Sheffield, myself and my mentor have worked throughout England in just these first few weeks, from Northumbria down to London. It’s the variety of the work that really appeals to me.
‘More importantly, too, is the chance to help people. When someone is in the trouble at the roadside, you’re a bit of a lifesaver.
‘My mentors Shaun and James have been a great help so far and with the training we have coming up including learning more about loading, I’m feeling good about the apprenticeship journey and about having the chance to work in recovery patrol on my own once I am qualified.’
Jamie Fraser, Client Relationship Manager for GTG, spoke about the value of this apprenticeship partnership to GTG as training provider. He said: ‘When the opportunity came up to work with the AA, we were excited to work with a client that could certainly be classed as a UK institution, and indeed a household name.
‘With the role being quite unique to AA, it has meant delivering the apprenticeship in a new way, to fit the business model and developing the particular skills needed for the apprentices to succeed. I think the relationship GTG and the AA have created has been fantastic. We both have the same common goal to produce the next generation of recovery operatives who will set the standard for future intakes.’
Nick Foxall, Roadside Training Manager for the AA, said: ‘It’s been a great opportunity to turn our recruitment upside down. Looking for candidate without a licence means we have opened the door to a more diverse pool of people, and can focus on the personal attributes that really make an AA recovery patrol ‘best in class’. Starting from the ground up with GTG, we can ensure our priorities are aligned, especially with regards to safety, customer service and professionalism.’
Gillian Johnson, Professional Development and D&I Business Partner, AA, added: ‘Setting up this brand new apprenticeship has given us the opportunity to grow our own talent, during challenging market conditions for recruitment.
‘We’re confident that the support we’ll provide to our new apprentices will help them to have long career at the AA, and we can’t wait to watch them progress through the programme.’
Lisa Palmer, Customer Performance Manager:
“This really is an exciting time for the company and our Apprentices. ‘Thinking outside of the box’ has meant that we could really challenge some of the industry norms and attract more great people into a great organisation. The role of a Recovery Patrol is arguably 10% Vehicle and 90% People focussed, so welcoming new team members with Customer service at the forefront of their minds is proving a positive experience for all involved.
Having selected Mentors from our experienced Recovery Teams to support our Apprentices out in the field is also a great opportunity to share best practice and really help get to grips with some of the more unusual aspects of the role which our established RO teams work with day in day out. I am thrilled to see what the future has in store for our Recovery Patrol Apprentices”