Karl Vella began his career in the motor trade in 1978, as an apprentice panel beater. In 1986, at the age of 27, he made the decision to go into business on his own and opened the first Karl Vella repair centre on Cemetary Road, Southport.

With only an apprentice helping him at first, in a few years Karl had established a strong reputation for quality repairs and excellent customer service which saw the Southport site grow into a million pound turnover company.

With an appetite for growth, the business opened its second site in Skelmersdale, in 1994. At the time, this repair centre was one of the largest in the UK. The Skelmersdale site grew rapidly, establishing strong relationships with insurer customers and winning many awards, including Bodyshop of the Year and a variety for the business' Apprentice Training programmes.

In 1997, the business acquired a repair centre in Blackburn and in 1999 a repair centre in Preston.

In 2003, these acquisitions were followed by the opening of a multi-million, purpose built, state of the art repair centre on Preston's Docklands.

As the business attracted more attention for its apprentice schemes, Karl was awarded the status of Chief Expert for Autobody Repair by World Skills, an international competition for apprentices from all fields of industry to showcase their skills against one another.

This dedication to training and apprenticeships led to Karl being awarded an MBE, at Buckingham Palace, and the IMI Industry Achiever Award, both in 2007.

2010 saw the business acquire a repair centre in Barrow, expanding the company's footprint into Cumbria.

In 2015, the consolidation of the company's presence in Cumbria was completed with the acquisition of a site in Workington.

After almost 30 years in the industry, the business continued to pursue its goal for ongoing innovation with the opening of the Chester site in 2015, the next step in the evolution of repair centres and proof of concept for the future of the industry.

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