Apprenticeships

‘In the first three months I was presenting to a director’

There are several types of apprenticeship on offer at Bentley, but all have one thing in common: the opportunity to make a difference from day one. Higher Apprentice Aima Ali chose Bentley over university – and has never looked back

‘When I left the City of Stoke Sixth Form College, I had an offer from four different universities and an apprenticeship offer from Bentley, so I had a huge decision to make. I knew that if I joined Bentley, I’d be stepping into the real world at the age of 18. I’d have to become an adult, take on responsibilities and come to work every day, while my friends at uni would be partying all the time.

‘I chose Bentley, and I have never regretted it for a single second, even if some of it has been pretty challenging. In the first three months of my Higher Apprenticeship, I was presenting to a Purchase Director. Within six months, I’d travelled to Germany for a conference at the headquarters of Bentley’s parent company, VW Group. And, in my first year, I was responsible for a purchase package of over a million pounds.

‘Yes, it was scary at times, but you get so much support and encouragement at Bentley as a trainee. That helps not just with your professional development but also with your personal growth. I was very nervous when I started, always doubting myself, but Bentley has given me so much confidence.

‘I have learnt to communicate with different people, think on my feet and come to the right decision quickly. I believe apprenticeships give you skills that university is potentially quite limited in teaching. At uni, you deal mainly with your peers and your lecturers, but at work, you have to deal with entirely different people, very busy people, and that challenges you. But it also develops you.

‘As a British Asian, I was a little bit worried about coming into the motor industry as an ethnic minority. But no one has ever made me feel like I’m not welcome. Bentley encourages diversity in all its forms. The ethos here is very open-minded. And that makes so much sense because different people from different backgrounds bring fresh perspectives.

‘I am now in my third year here, and I will gain experience of 14 different areas of the business this year. I’ve also learnt German at Bentley, which has improved communication with my VW Group Colleagues, and there’s always the opportunity for placements at companies like Audi, Lamborghini and Porsche.

‘I haven’t compromised my education either. As a Higher Apprentice, I still have the opportunity to pursue my degree in chartered management, first as a bachelor’s degree and then as a master’s – not many companies offer that flexibility.

‘There’s so much to look forward to at Bentley, like the new campus we’re building, which is really exciting! Three years ago, I made a tough decision, but it was the right decision.’

Aima Ali, Higher Apprentice, Purchasing

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