Erasmus buggy challenge leads to Germany apprenticeship for Axarquía student

Aran Tallboys will be travelling to Germany on Tuesday.
Aran Tallboys will be travelling to Germany on Tuesday. / JENNIE RHODES
  • Aran Tallboys will be in Leipzig for at least six months and will have the opportunity to both teach and study at the Vitalis training centre

An 18-year-old British/Indian man from Alcaucín will be starting a new life in Leipzig, Germany next week after being one of two students from Vélez-Málaga to be offered an apprenticeship linked to an Erasmus+ programme.

Aran Tallboys, who lives in the Axarquía town with his parents, Dean and Sherna, was offered a place on the apprenticeship with the Erasmus training centre while he, along with 14 other students from the Juan de la Cierva secondary school in Vélez-Málaga, travelled to Leipzig last September.

Aran finished his secondary school studies at IES Periana in June 2017 and decided that he wanted to study for a 'grado medio' in Electromechanics, instead of going down the more academic route of the baccalaureate.

“I got an average grade point of 8.2 which most people would go on to study for the baccalaureate,” he explained.

But since the age of seven, Aran has always wanted to be a mechanic for the Royal Navy and he knew that his choice would be more useful for his future career plans.

He confessed that he “wasn't that interested” when he first heard about the Erasmus+ programme, which has sent students from the Vélez school to Vitalis in the past.

Aran eventually applied to join the programme and was accepted at the same time as Rocío Barroso, a lorry driver from Periana who had decided to go back to school at the age of 35 and was also offered a place at the training centre.

“Rocío and I were classmates in Juan de la Cierva. She sometimes used to pick me up on the way from Periana to Vélez and we get on well as we have a lot of similar interests,” said Aran.

In Leipzig the team from Vélez-Málaga were given the challenge of building an E-buggy from scratch.

They finished in record time and went on to take part in other projects to fill their time.

Right from the beginning, Aran explained, he also took on the role of translator.

“On the first day we were asked who the English student was and I ended up translating for everyone when we went out to eat and then on a tour round a Volkswagen factory.”

Aran's ability to speak English and Spanish fluently along with his excellent mechanical and electrician skills made him stand out and he and Rocío were offered the six-month placements.

Aran pointed out that he translated for Rocío during her interview as she didn't speak English.

“She is now studying English and German,” he added.

While Rocío returned to Leipzig in November last year, Aran needed to come back to Vélez-Málaga to complete his course.

The 18-year-old is the youngest person from the Vélez-Málaga school to be offered an apprenticeship and, while he recognises that he is still very young, he knows he will be in good hands.

Not only does he already know Rocío, there will be people there he met in September, including Ralf Giesecke, the president of Vitalis who offered the apprenticeships to the Vélez students.

Dean Tallboys confessed that he was sure his son “had got it wrong” when he came back from Leipzig last year.

“I made him write an email to Ralf to check,” he admitted, adding, “My son is very confident and capable, but he's so young.”

Aran, who also passed iGCSE English and 'A' Level Spanish last year, said that he hoped to stay in Germany after the six-month apprenticeship but still has his sights on joining the Royal Navy.

“New officers are normally in their early 20s so this will be a great opportunity to get some experience before,” he said.

He also acknowledges that life can present unexpected opportunities, like the Erasmus+ apprenticeship, so is keeping an open mind about the future and admits that things “could change” depending on what the Vitalis experience offers.

His dad, who has also travelled extensively as a software developer and met Aran's mum while living in Kuwait, says that he “encouraged” Aran to take the opportunity and already has plans to visit his son in Germany.