A Whitehaven teenager's bravery to approach a luxury car showroom armed with his CV and a history of the vehicle he'd restored has sparked an apprenticeship trend at a car dealership.

Staff at Porsche Centre South Lakes were so captivated by Jim Willis, 18, and his passion for car restoration, that they hired him as their first apprentice in eight years.

Thanks to Mr Willis' success, the centre has since recruited two more apprentices.


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Mr Willis, who lives in Endmoor, studied a BTEC in engineering, design and technology alongside A-Level maths, but left sixth form after developing a passion for car engineering.

He said: "I was gifted a car by my cousin and began tinkering with it at the weekend.

"I would search online for videos of how to fix things and it expanded from there."

Determined to follow his newfound career path, he updated his CV and walked into Porsche Centre South Lakes to meet the aftersales manager.

Taking along evidence of his car’s restoration, Mr Willis, who went to school in Egremont, pitched his interest in car repair and was hired.

Much of his training takes place at the brand-new, state-of-the-art site near Carnforth.

He also spends one week in every five at Porsche’s Apprentice Training Academy in Slough, diagnosing faults in a range of Porsche models.

Mr Willis said: “It is very technical with diagnostic computers and increased safety around the latest generation of electric vehicles.

“It is a very responsible job and you need to go through a lot of training.

"Porsche’s are high performance vehicles, and a lot of customers quite often use them at track days so they have to be right.

“The great thing about an apprenticeship is that you get to learn a trade, gain qualifications and instead of accruing student debt you actually get paid.”

Mr Willis' aftersales manager Wayne Robinson said: "We were impressed with Jim from the minute he dropped off his CV; he really stood out.

"We now need new blood in the industry and with an apprenticeship you learn on the job, compared with university where you are given the theory, but then still have to learn the practical elements within the workplace.

“We are so pleased with Porsche’s scheme that we have just taken on two more, a technician and a parts specialist apprentice – Freddie Edmondson and Josh Lucas – at a time when we are building a new workshop to meet demand.”