William Hague praises Pebley Beach during visit

By Anita Jaynes on April 10, 2015

A top Tory politician visited Wiltshire’s Apprenticeship Business of the Year Pebley Beach yesterday (Thursday) to find out how apprenticeships both benefit the firm, and provide opportunities for young people.

Former Conservative leader William Hague was on the campaign trail with his party’s parliamentary candidates Justin Tomlinson (North Swindon) and Robert Buckland (South Swindon), and visited Hyundai and Suzuki dealership Pebley Beach to find out more about its award-winning apprenticeship scheme.

The former Foreign Secretary, who is bowing out of political life in May after 26 years as an MP, said: “I want to pay tribute to Pebley Beach and the management here; they’ve been taking on apprentices for a long time.

“But of course apprenticeships both nationally and here in Swindon have expanded enormously under this government, and we want to expand them more if we win the election.

“You can see the impact it makes on the lives of young people, and contributes to a great, successful, award-winning business.”

Managing director Dominic Threlfall said: “We’re very proud that our apprenticeship scheme has been acknowledged as one of the best.

“Apprenticeships are the life-blood of our company. In the workshop, 55 percent of our staff started off as apprentices, and there are some great students coming out of our local colleges.”

During his visit, Mr Hague was introduced to technician Mark Illsley, who joined the company at the age of 19, and has been crowned Suzuki Apprentice of the Year no fewer than three times during his career.

Ten years on, Mark has now been crowned Suzuki Technician of the Year and has recently been invited to represent team Hyundai GB in the world skills Olympics in South Korea in October.

“If you question the value apprenticeships, Pebley’s answer is look at our staff. No matter your political persuasion, apprenticeships are an increasing important part of the mix,” said Dom.