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North East Accident Repair Centres NE Arc Logo NE ARC win prestigious training award

LOCAL EMPLOYER TREWICKS NAMED AS VQ SME OF THE YEAR 5th June 2013: Trewicks Accident Repair Centre in Newcastle has been named national winner of the VQ Employer of the Year (SME category). The Newcastle-based business, which is part of the North East Accident Repair Centres group, was named as winner of the first ever SME-focused award in recognition of the outstanding support it has provided to those undertaking vocational qualifications (VQs) within its workforce. Throughout its 50+ years in business, Trewicks Accident Repair Centre has placed vocational learning at its core to help staff reach the highest standard of workmanship needed when repairing an accident damaged motor vehicle. Its careful selection and intense training of apprentices has given it an enviable reputation for craftsmanship and efficiency. The company was presented with its award at a prestigious event in Westminster last night, which was hosted by Skills Minister, Matthew Hancock MP and former Education Secretary Lord Baker, who is Chairman of independent education charity, the Edge Foundation – which leads VQ Day. Matthew Hancock, Skills Minister congratulated Trewicks on its continued investment in vocational learning saying: “Vocational qualifications provide immense benefits to both businesses and learners alike. I am delighted to be able to reward those who take part with the recognition they deserve, whether they are a business of any size or a learner who has started his own company.” All apprentices are recruited locally and are trained in conjunction with Gateshead College. They also attend specialist training at Thatcham and are teamed up with one of Trewicks employees who acts as a mentor.

The local business also recruits apprentices by offering work experience placements to full-time students at Gateshead College.

Thomas Widdrington, Manager, Trewicks Accident Repair Centre, said:

“We are deeply honoured to be recognised as VQ SME of the Year and thrilled that our investment in people and vocational learning has been acknowledged in this way. We know how important vocational learning is in helping our people reach their full potential, as well as delivering real business benefits and hope to stand as an example to others looking to do something similar.”

Jan Hodges, CEO of the Edge Foundation commented:

“I am delighted that Trewicks Accident Repair Centre has been named as VQ SME of the Year. It has shown a significant investment in its current and importantly, future workforce. There is a huge range of vocational qualifications available, and people can undertake these at any point in their life. Through employers like Trewicks Accident Repair Centre, we can demonstrate how incredibly valuable such qualifications and vocational training is.”

The VQ SME of the Year Award, forms part of VQ Day – an annual celebration of people who gain vocational qualifications every year in the UK. It aims to celebrate practical and vocational achievements, not only for the individual but for UK PLC. From 16 year olds to those over 60, VQ Day celebrates the acquisition of new skills and encourages parity of esteem between high quality vocational qualifications and academic ones.

Held on the 5th June, the sixth annual VQ Day recognises the value of vocational qualifications and celebrate vocational achievement.

For more information about VQ Day and the VQ Employer of the Year Awards, please visit

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