Oldham apprentice Gary motoring up the career ladder

Date published: 07 February 2024

When Oldham sales specialist Gary Byrne celebrated his 40th birthday in 2020, he thought his chance of securing his maths and English GCSE had passed and that his days in formal education had long gone.

Fast forward four years and Gary - who works in the automotive industry for Oldham Audi which is part of the Jardine Motors Group - is on the brink of completing his Level 3 Team Leader Apprenticeship with leading training provider Realise, has secured the equivalent of a GCSE in maths and English and is already looking forward to his next qualification opportunity.

Speaking during National Apprenticeship Week, Gary has a simple message to anybody around his age contemplating future opportunities - it’s never too late to start an apprenticeship.

Gary, a retail manager who lives in Greenfield and was previously in the Army, said: “I joined Jardine Motors Group in May 2021 and I was really keen to find out how I could progress.

“I soon became aware of the brilliant training and development programme on offer and a few days later I was signed up to start my Level 3 apprenticeship.

“It’s not what I thought I’d be doing in my 40s, but it’s been an absolutely brilliant experience and I can’t speak highly enough of Jardine for providing the opportunity and Realise for the training they have provided.

“My trainer, Charlotte Gregory, has been fantastic at making each session bespoke to each individual and that has made a huge difference.

“The course has been really interesting and completely relevant for the automotive industry and the job I’m operating in at the moment, as well as the positions I aim to progress to.

“The thinking that apprenticeships are only for people who are young and maybe just out of school is very much out-of-date.

“A lot of apprenticeships now are built around allowing people to develop who are a little older, established in their job roles and looking to progress further by creating bespoke programmes around their specific job.

“Whatever your age, if you are thinking of doing an apprenticeship, my message would be to go for it.”

Gary is due to enter the final stages of his apprenticeship in the coming weeks and, once he has completed his Level 3 qualification, his sights are already firmly set on beginning his Level 5 apprenticeship.

He added: “I’ve always been ambitious in my career and thought the sky is the limit.

"The aim I’ve set myself is to try and work my way up within Jardine Motors Group to be a head of business by the time I’m 50 and, with the apprenticeship, I can see a clear path to how that might become possible.”

Realise is one of the UK’s leading training providers and specialises in delivering apprenticeships within business services.

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