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Clients: Michael Driscoll

Job Centre: Blackwood

Business Advisor: Lynne Berg

Business Name: Argoed Automotive Centre Ltd

Having recently returned to the UK after many years living overseas, I identified a very flawed automotive industry (private sector) in the local community. Having operated my own business for many years overseas, I saw this as an opportunity and subsequently qualified as a vehicle examiner and test centre manager with the aim of one day owning my own testing facility.

My work coach at the Job Centre referred me to New Enterprise Allowance to explore self-employment. I took relevant courses at the Business Centre, to help me learn what was involved in being Self Employed in the UK and setting up a business as a MOT Testing Centre and garage.

My New Enterprise Allowance Business Advisor Lynne Berg was instrumental in helping with our start up, has supported me all the way through my self employment journey and provided valuable information and support when needed. I have also attended training sessions and received 'one on one' guidance and advice from very knowledgeable advisors as to how to use social media as a virtually cost-free medium of advertising. Although a 'print marketing' exercise has already been carried out, the social media platform is proving to be the obvious choice of the way forward and reaching the potential client base in our area.

The core business is a vehicle MOT test centre, also equipped to carry out all related repairs to motor vehicles, as well as servicing and diagnostic facilities. We also offer a highly specialised service to chemically remove carbon accumulation experienced in modern diesel engines. We are a fully approved agent of the chemical and equipment supplier 'Tec4'. Ultimately, the aim is to be recognised in the local community, as a first class service and repair facility, with MOT examination of class four vehicles as our core business. Due to the nature of our business, it is not practical to move premises, so there will be continual upgrading of existing facilities and equipment. We have already impressed representatives of the DVSA and shall continue to strive to be an example of 'First Class' automotive service stations in the private sector.

One qualified technician will be employed with immediate effect in the service and repair section. The appointment of an apprentice will then be considered, with the assistance of the local college. It is further anticipated that a full time receptionist will be required within the first six months.

We have also been working with the Job Centre offering placements to their customers to provide work experience and confidence boosting to support the customers in securing full time employment. This has proved to be very successful and I have enjoyed having the placements on site.

COVID-19 Impact

Are you still open for business?

We have indeed remained open during this time. We were informed by government that repair facilities could continue to trade as normal, as vehicles have to be kept running. Although, government have decided that MOT testing would be suspended for a period of six months as of the 30th March. This decision has been devastating for us, as our core business is of course MOT testing and the vast majority of our work is generated from repairs required to comply.

We have adjusted the business to doing general repair work only until this is over. We are also using any spare time to upgrade our premises. We will get through this and keep our business going.

Award winning company with award winning staff

Business Sense Associates Ltd. Ltd Company number 08636013

Registered Office : The Business Centre, 1-5 Peniel Green Rd, Llansamlet, Swansea SA7 9AP