THE ART OF APPRENTICESHIP

Aston Martin Works has a world-renowned reputation for the exceptional quality of the paint work carried out in its state-of-the-art bodyshop at Newport Pagnell. But where does the business go to staff this famous department – ensuring those who work there can protect and develop that enviable reputation for paint perfection? Well, surprising as it may seem, in one case the answer was ‘school’.

29-year-old Lewis Young is a fully qualified Paint Technician at Newport Pagnell, with experience of working on the visible elements of some of the most famous, and valuable, cars in the world.

He has painted sports cars owned by the rich and famous, worked on Continuation cars worth millions, and painstakingly crafted one-off paint finishes for Aston Martin models that grace some of the finest car collections in the world.

Yet Lewis’s journey to the very top of his trade began altogether more humbly – he joined Aston Martin Works as a bodyshop apprentice straight out of school.

“I was 17. I didn’t even know where Aston Martin Works was when I applied for the apprenticeship and I was too young for a driving licence so, after I got the job, I had to rely on lifts from my mum to get to and from work!”

A rigorous selection process at Gaydon whittled down a huge cohort of would-be apprentices to just four, including Lewis, when he joined the brand’s Heritage operation in July 2012, and from that day on he has never looked back.

“From my very first day here I’ve been trusted to get on and actually ‘do’ the work. It’s a fantastic place to learn, and perfect, your skills,” said Lewis.

After completing his apprenticeship Lewis was offered a permanent role at Newport Pagnell, and is now one of the team working on repairs, restorations, bespoke colour changes and much more.

What about the pressures associated with working on some of the world’s most valuable Aston Martin sports cars?

He explained: “You have to detach yourself from the value of the car, or you’ll overthink things. You have to get on and do it, and know that you have the ability and support around you to deliver what the customer expects.

”What next, then, for this former apprentice? “From a work point of view this job’s my life, really. I can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s a great place to work, and even after 12 years here I still catch myself looking at the cars thinking ‘wow’.”

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