A MOTOR technician who started his career as an apprentice at a Swindon car dealership has returned to work there as department manager after winning awards for his work.

Mark Illsley joined Hyundai and Suzuki dealership Pebley Beach when he was 19 and climbed the career to become a master technician and winner of the coveted Suzuki Motor Technician of the Year award.

After taking a 16-month sabbatical from the firm to gain experience of the wider motor industry by working for a parts and components manufacturer, Mark has now returned to head up the department he first joined as a teenager in 2005.

Pebley Beach managing director Dominic Threlfall said: “There’s a route for career progression for all of our staff and Mark is one of our success stories, going from apprentice to award-winning technician.

“He’s gained both confidence and an understanding of the wider industry during his time away, and it’s great to have him back running the workshop where he started 15 years ago.”

While away from the company, Mark joined Mobis Parts Europe which is, an official manufacturer and supplier of genuine parts and accessories for Hyundai.

His job as field quality engineer saw him examining potential issues with parts made and supplied by the firm.

He said: “It was an after-market quality control role. Working in an independent business, I’ve seen the cost to the business and frustration caused to the customer, if a new part does not perform as well as it should.

“My job was to examine parts if complaints started to come in from customers via dealerships. I got a real understanding of and appreciation for the need for quality control not just within an individual workshop, but on a UK and European scale.”

While Mark enjoyed his time with Mobis, he could not resist the offer of returning to Pebley Beach as workshop controller overseeing a team of seven technicians all working under his watchful eye.

Part of his new job involves training apprentice technicians - and he knows all too well what it's like to be in their shoes. The student has become the master.