June 29 2007.

From almost 50,000 students registered on qualifications awarded by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), three proud Suzuki Apprentice Scheme students made it into the 27 finalists for the 2007 IMI Learning Skills Awards.

Hosted by IMI patron, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, the short-list included 21 year-old Laura Hooper from Performance Suzuki in Tewkesbury, seventeen year-old Carl Jones of P.E Price in Wales and Alex Pomphrett of Stoneacre in Durham.

But the short-list was just the start of the celebrations for two Suzuki candidates, as Laura Hooper scooped the 'Outstanding Technical Student' award for motorcycles, with Carl Jones runner-up in the ATV category.

Receiving her award from HRH Prince Michael of Kent, Laura commented, "I am delighted to be given this award. The Suzuki scheme has been a great opportunity for me, and to be short-listed and awarded in such strong company is a great honour for myself and the Suzuki Apprentice scheme itself".

Narrowly missing out on the top honour in the ATV category was Carl Jones, who previously scooped the 2006 Suzuki Apprentice of the Year award.

Suzuki GB's Denis Houston commented, "We are extremely proud to have such a strong entry in the IMI awards. Just to be short-listed is an honour and is a reflection not just on the students, but the scheme itself. Well done to all".

Established in 2003, the Suzuki Apprentice Scheme is open to authorised Suzuki dealership staff, and takes students through three years of training towards an NVQ level three qualification. Concentrating solely on Suzuki product, students have the advantage of working with Suzuki trained lecturers, covering classroom theory and practical experience both in the workplace and at Suzuki's training centre in Nottingham.