Two future Motor Engineers are in the driving seat with their careers thanks to the Nelson and Colne College Group Apprenticeship offer.

Recently completed Level 3 Motor Engineering Apprentice James Mitchell and new starter Joe Clarke, both at Graham’s of Colne Ltd, had the opportunity to share how their career is travelling in the right direction when Vice Principal Alison Rushton went ‘Back to the Floor’ at the garage during National Apprenticeship Week.

The business, which has been serving Pendle motorists for over 30 years, has developed a strong reputation for high quality auto repairs. Owner Darren Mitchell achieved his Apprenticeship with the College at the start of his career, and has steered the garage in the direction of Apprenticeships to ensure it has continuity in the future by skilling its young Motor Engineers.

Darren said: “We’re always a really busy garage, and I think that is because our customers recognise our reputation for top quality repairs, and the high standard of staff that we employ. We have all done our Apprenticeships or are working towards achieving them, and I believe that Apprenticeships are the right way forward to give young Motor Engineers the basic skills that can be built on with valuable workshop experience.”

During the visit, Alison also had the chance to meet former Motor Engineering Apprentice Daniel McNicholas who has worked his way up to be workshop manager and diagnostics expert, and discuss how else the College Group can support the business and the Motor Engineering sector further through Apprenticeships and Training.

Alison, who is Vice Principal for Apprenticeships at Nelson and Colne College Group, said: “I would like to thank Darren and his team at Graham’s of Colne Ltd for taking the time out of their busy day to host my visit.

“I take great satisfaction that our College Group can support businesses large and small to be sustainable and successful, and Graham’s of Colne Ltd is a classic example of that.

“It was also pleasure to chat to James and Joe – two talented individuals with incredible enthusiasm for the trade – who have the keys to successful futures thanks to the Apprenticeship programme, and to Daniel and Darren, who both chose to achieve their Motor Engineering qualifications with Accrington and Rossendale College and Nelson and Colne College respectively and have gone on to have fulfilling careers in the trade.”

Daniel, 32, from Kelbrook, said: “My Apprenticeship definitely served me well and I love working in Motor Engineering. I really enjoy the problem solving, the diagnostics and the satisfaction of getting things fixed to achieve a good result for the customer.

“I’ve worked at back street garages to main dealerships, and I love working at Graham’s of Colne. It’s a great place to develop your skills. We’re definitely at the cutting edge in an industry that is changing all the time.”

Joe, 22, from Colne, said: “I’ve always wanted to go into Motor Engineering, and my Apprenticeship is developing the skills I need for the future. I also have a unit myself where I work on cars out of hours and at weekends to strengthen my knowledge. I would like to do my MOT qualification as well to improve my inspection abilities so that I can work in that aspect of the business in the future.”

James, 20, also from Colne, said: “I like working in a garage environment, and I chose Motor Engineering because of the passion and interest I have in cars. I think being a mechanic is very rewarding and I’m always upgrading my skills and knowledge through the job.”

Following the successful merger between Nelson and Colne College and Accrington and Rossendale College, the range of Apprenticeships offered by the Nelson and Colne College Group has expanded.

Sectors in the Group offer include: Business and Professional Services; Catering and Hospitality; Construction Trades and Building Services; Education and Childcare; Engineering; Hair and Beauty; Health and Social Care; Motor Vehicle Maintenance and Repair; Retail, Sales and Customer Service; Sport and Leisure.

The Nelson and Colne College Group is the number one college in Lancashire for employer satisfaction, based on the government’s FE Choices Employer Survey.

If you are interested in starting an Apprenticeship with the Nelson and Colne College Group, please contact the Apprenticeship Team today by calling 01282 440319 or visit