A CAR repair business in Kidderminster has been ranked in the top 100 apprenticeship employers in England.

Gemini Auto Repair Centres, which has sites across North Worcestershire and Dudley, is one of just 19 employers in the West Midlands to make the final 100 of the National Apprenticeship Service's Top Apprenticeship Employers list.

Kidderminster-based Gemini currently has 53 apprentices doing its multi-skilled repair technology training across their 29 sites

With another 16 youngsters in other apprenticeships and at their Wales and Scotland centres, apprentices make up more than 12 per cent of the firm’s entire workforce.

They were ranked 92 out of the top 100 and have local centres at Kidderminster, Redditch, Merry Hill, Dudley and Worcester.

The company works closely with a charity called AutoRaise to attract more young people into the motor industry, which has an ageing workforce and needs to fill skill gaps.

Bosses say Covid has put back training, and it will be next February or March before the apprentices will finalise their courses.

Gemini managing director Dave Sargeant said: “To be in the top 100 against lots of huge names across all the sectors I am very proud of the team. Without AutoRaise we wouldn’t have even started taking on apprentices.”

In a neighbouring borough, Dudley Council came in 43rd in the top 100, having supported more than 400 members of staff to develop their skills and training in the last three years using the government’s apprenticeship levy.

Staff can choose to participate in an apprenticeship alongside their normal duties and have more than 66 different subject areas to choose from, available up to degree level.

The council works in partnership with 34 training providers.

It’s also supporting ten businesses across Dudley borough to offer apprenticeships to staff and already more than 70 are signed up to the scheme.

Councillor Phipps, cabinet member for procurement, transformation and commercialisation said: “In these difficult times, it is vital that we look to use our position as a large local employer to support people into work. This is precisely what we are doing.”

Apprenticeship vacancies can be found www.wmjobs.co.uk/searchjobs/