After just two years working as an RAC roadside technician rescuing stricken drivers in the south Manchester area, Ben Aldous has been named RAC Patrol of the Year 2019, making him one of the fastest ever to achieve the accolade.
In December 2016 Ben, 33, relocated from Norwich to Stockport with his fiancée Holly and their two young children to take up his dream job of becoming an RAC breakdown patrol, having applied to the company four times before.
Just over 12 months later he won the RAC Bright Beginnings Award and quickly went on to achieve a vehicle fix rate of 95% – one of the best in the RAC and well ahead of the patrol average of 80% – one of the performance criteria needed to help him win the coveted Patrol of the Year title at the RAC’s 2019 annual colleague awards.
As part of the prize for collecting the top honour Ben gets to drive a brand new orange Ford Transit van with the number plate P1 RAC for the next 12 months. The van comes fully equipped with the company’s latest roadside rescue innovations: the All-Wheels-Up recovery system, which gives RAC vans flatbed-like vehicle recovery capability, and RAC EV Boost – a lightweight mobile charging system powered by the van developed by the RAC to get ‘flat’ electric vehicles going again.
Ben said: “It’s a fantastic honour to be named RAC Patrol of the Year. When my name was called out at the awards ceremony it felt like time stood still. I just couldn’t believe it. It’s one of the biggest achievements of my life.
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to celebrate very much as Holly and I had to catch a flight to Paris the next day to take the kids to Disneyland Paris, but that didn’t matter as I was just so happy to have won.
“I applied four times to become an RAC patrol but there was never a job available in the Norwich area so when one came up in Manchester I jumped at the opportunity. Luckily, Holly’s family are in Stockport so we were able to live with them initially. I only had 12 days between handing my notice in to the garage I was working at and starting training at RAC HQ in Walsall. But looking back it was a fantastic decision as I’ve loved it from day one.
“It’s such a rewarding job and so different to being in a garage where you rarely get to meet customers. As an RAC patrol no two days are ever the same and you get to meet so many different people and help them out of some very difficult and frustrating situations. They are always so grateful for your help and really recognise what you have done for them which is a big contrast to garage work.”
On joining the RAC Ben, who had a Level 2 qualification in Motor Vehicle Repair, enrolled in the RAC Development Academy for Roadside Technicians. Under this 18-month apprenticeship scheme designed to take participants to Level 3, Ben passed his exams early with distinction.
RAC patrol trainer Jim Harmer said: “It was clear as soon as Ben joined the apprenticeship programme that he had a can-do attitude, but throughout he helped and encouraged the other five patrols to achieve their Level 3 qualifications.”
Manchester-based RAC patrol team manager Bryan Wilks added: “As soon as I interviewed Ben for the job I could tell he would make an excellent RAC patrol as he is so driven to delivering great customer service. He has an incredible passion for the RAC and his success is so well deserved.”
RAC chief operations director James Knight said: “Ben truly exemplifies the role of an RAC patrol. His passion, dedication and determination to do the right thing for our customers are second to none which is why it was such an easy decision for us to make him RAC Patrol of the Year and the next proud keeper of the P1 RAC number plate.”
Notes to Editors
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About the RAC
First formed in 1897, the RAC has been looking after the needs of its members for more than 120 years.
Today it has approximately 10m members and is one of the UK’s most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistance, insurance, buying a used car, vehicle inspections and checks, legal services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information – the RAC offers a solution for all motoring needs. The RAC is committed to making motoring easier, safer, more affordable and more enjoyable for drivers and road users.
The RAC supports the interests of its members and UK drivers at a national level. This includes voicing concerns about the increasing cost of motoring, particularly the price of fuel and the high level of tax levied on it, advancing levels of road safety, and supporting the needs of all drivers, from young to old.
The RAC’s annual Report on Motoring – first published in 1989 – is one of a kind and provides a clear insight into the concerns and issues facing today’s motorists.
For the very latest news on UK fuel prices, check RAC Fuel Watch. It provides a comprehensive guide to the latest UK unleaded petrol and diesel prices – both at the wholesale level and at the pump - and tracks these prices daily to help drivers check if the price they pay to fill up is a fair one.
For more information about the RAC, visit the RAC website.