Preston College names Apprentice of the Year as Iraq born Bowker apprentice who couldn’t speak English when he arrived

The winner of Preston College Apprentice of the Year has been revealed.

A young apprentice, originally from Iraq, has been confirmed as the Preston College Apprentice of the Year.

Didar Hussain is in his second year of the automotive technologies course at the college, whilst working for Bowker Ribble Valley in Osbaldeston.

Originally from Iraq and unable to speak English, when Didar came to the UK six years ago, he enrolled onto the Preston College ‘English for Speakers of Other Languages’ course.

Bowker Apprentice Didar Hussain has won Preston College Apprentice of the Year.

Working from Entry 2 to Entry 3, Didar then enrolled onto the Level 1 Automotive programme, and started his Level 3 apprenticeship with Bowker Ribble Valley earlier this year.

Didar, who away from work is a keen footballer and supports Manchester City, will continue his studies at Preston College for another year.

Didar said: “I was very surprised and proud to win the ‘Apprentice of the Year’ award. When I enrolled at Preston college I could barely say ‘hi’ and ‘bye’. But everything has taken off since then. I chose automotive technology because I hoped it would offer me important transferable skills.

“I am studying a practical course. The support I enjoy at Preston college helps, but it makes a big difference when you combine it with the first-hand experience at Bowker. It is a great way to develop my learning by watching and speaking to colleagues too.”

Didar Hussain and Richard Rawlings at Bowker Ribble Valley.

Earlier this year Preston based Bowker Motor Group entered into a long-term partnership with Preston College, helping apprentices learn a breadth of knowledge, skills and behaviours in their specific area.

The partnership has already led to apprenticeship opportunities within customer service and various automotive pathways within their prestigious dealerships.

Richard Rawlings, aftersales manager at Bowker said: “Congratulations to Didar. Bowker Motor Group have dedicated their time to involve learners in valuable work placement opportunities, with the potential to move to an apprenticeship programme.

“The development of our partnership enables learners to capture and experience industry, combined with underpinning knowledge, skills and behaviours. Students are getting a fantastic opportunity to learn bespoke engines to help with their understanding of the automotive industry. Didar is a great example of the difference our partnership can make.”

Didar was unable to speak English when he moved to the UK.

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Mark Taylor, Head of School for Engineering and Automotive Technologies commented: “We could not be prouder of Didar. What this young man has achieved in just 6 years is remarkable and truly inspirational.

“The relationship with Bowker ensures we are able to give young learners like Didar a real opportunity to learn the technical skills in the automotive industry. The skills he’ll learn alongside Preston College’s industry-experienced staff and the professional technician team at Bowker, will set strong foundations for a fulfilling and successful career. A huge well done from all of us at Preston College.”

Preston College is currently the largest apprenticeship provider in its local area.

Bowker Motor Group’s automotive retail franchise portfolio includes BMW, MINI, BMW Motorrad and Porsche, with centres in Preston and Blackburn, as well as operating Bowker Ribble Valley in Osbaldeston.