It has been ten years since Harry Bicknell first began his studies at Eastleigh College, with the objective of becoming a professional mechanic. Now he works daily with supercars - many of which are valued at over £1 million - and is close to becoming a diagnostic technician which will open up further doors for him in the industry.
In 2012 Harry began his two-year Level 2 qualification in Motor Vehicle studies at Eastleigh College, which was swiftly followed by a further Level 3 qualification in the same subject, which he completed as part of an advanced apprenticeship. During this period he was employed by family-run garage E and J Jarvis Ltd in Southampton, where he learnt a range of practical skills alongside his theory work at College. It proved to be a successful formula for Harry, who went from strength to strength as he progressed through his studies and was even crowned as the College-wide Apprentice of the Year for the 2015/16 academic year.
Following the completion of his apprenticeship, Harry utilised his recently acquired MOT servicing license and moved to Peter Cooper Volkswagen garage in Shirley, where he spent four years as a Volkswagen service technician. Here he helped support the vehicle maintenance team as well as the Volkswagen showroom, which is one of four in the Solent region.
"There are a number of different routes into the motor mechanic industry but I am really pleased I chose an apprenticeship through Eastleigh College. You get a lot more workshop time through the apprenticeship route, which I believe is most valuable in this trade, and you do the theory on the day you’re not in. I felt this helped me build up my skills a lot quicker"
After four years at Peter Cooper, Harry made his most significant career move yet when he moved to Harwoods McLaren New Forest last year. He now works as a credited McLaren service technician and MOT service technician and is expecting to soon qualify to become a diagnostic technician.
“This role has been varied and interesting for me," said Harry. "I do all kinds of repairs, from big engine jobs to lighter cosmetic repairs, and I really enjoy the variety in the work. It’s a good challenge working with high-end cars and I rarely see anything lower than 570 BP (Brake Horsepower)."
As part of his role with Harwoods McLaren, Harry has supported Open Events at schools and colleges, including a visit earlier this year to Eastleigh College, helping current learners to discover their career path.
With a decade of industry experience under his belt, the future is looking bright for Harry – and he has high ambitions for the future. “My next professional goal is to become a master technician which is a more senior and advanced progression of my current role," he said. "My ultimate objective is to one day be in a position to open and run my own garage.”