Interview with Ben Routh, Thatcham Research Apprentice of the Year
May 14, 2024

Ben Routh, MET Apprentice at Activate Repair Leeds was named Apprentice of the Year at the 2024 British Bodyshop Awards.

We caught up with Ben to chat about how it felt to win, and find out about his future plans.

Ben, congratulations on winning at the British Bodyshop Awards! How did it feel to win?

The whole evening was very special, it was definitely one of the peaks of my career so far.

It was surprising being around so many high-profile people from the industry, and lots of them coming over to say congratulations and chat to me.

My manager, Ben Gray, came with me and I think he was almost as proud as me, so that felt great too.

And how has the reaction been since then?

It’s been very positive. I know everyone at Leeds is really pleased for me, and people from all across Activate Group. And of course my friends and family are very proud too.

What do you think made you stand out for the judges?

I know Thatcham Research have a lot of great apprentices, so it felt surreal to be shortlisted to be honest, let alone win!

From the feedback I’ve had, it was down to the fact that I really enjoy learning and always try to get the best from every day, especially when I train at Thatcham.

I’ve been involved in several projects during my apprenticeship, like helping with the launch of a new bodyshop management system. I’m always happy to get involved in different things to support the site, so I think that probably helped.

I feel very honoured to have been chosen as the winner.

Let’s talk about your career now. You’re in the third year of your MET apprenticeship. What interested you in a career in vehicle repair?

I applied because I felt an apprenticeship was the best possible thing for me after college. I wanted to work and learn at the same time.

I’d studied physics, maths and computer science, and I was fascinated by the technology in modern cars. I thought it would be an exciting area to work in.

And how have you found the apprenticeship?

It’s gone really fast and I’ve loved it so far. There’s a strong community in the workshop – I’ve had a lot of support from my manager, tutor and mentor, but other people on site have helped me develop too.

The apprenticeship has really allowed me to build up my confidence – in doing the work, but also socially.  It’s been transformative for me. I think I’m a noticeably different person now to when I first started.

What are your career aspirations?

I’m due to qualify next year, and obviously I’ll want to spend some time establishing myself as a qualified MET.

I’ve had some great guidance on potential career paths, and I’m interested in learning about estimating in the future.

With my computer science background, I’ve also really enjoyed supporting with the bodyshop management system. That’s an area I’d be interested in developing further if the opportunity was available.

That sounds great, and I’m sure you have a bright future ahead of you. Thank you very much for taking the time to chat to me today and congratulations again on winning the award.

Article Contents

Related articles