I pride myself in sensing a naturally female friendly business when I walk into one. When this is part of a business compliance check (for FOXY Lady Approved garages or car dealers) there are a lot of clues to help me here. I’ll have had a look at their website in advance to look for details of their staff team, evidence of a commitment to quality standards, clean looking/functional customer facilities and an absence of unnecessary jargon.
I’ll have checked for membership of a Trading Standards Institute scheme, to see if there are licensed staff on the IMI’s Professional Register, evidence of other training courses/qualifications or local awards and any special customer services.
I found all this and more at PK Automotive Solutions in Lincoln owned and run by Paul Killingsworth. Female staff, a smart business park environment (many garages are in off-putting industrial estates), modern premises, an enlightened and enthusiastic boss, time-saving tablet-based technology and a commitment to giving back to the motor industry.
The last bit is rare. Both PK Automotive and FOXY share an agenda for a licensed motor industry in future.
Our paths first crossed when I was doing some research about female apprentices. My client asked me to talk to a sample of young females including PK Automotive Solution’s Lois Lane. Since then PK has joined our FOXY Lady Approved garage network and is the only female friendly approved independent garage in Lincoln.
I met and interviewed Lois, an Apprentice Technician who is currently working towards her Level 2 in Light Vehicle Automotive Engineering. She is very keen and motivated and certainly well on the road to being a top technician. Watch this space.
Another two females can be found in the reception area of the business.
Rachel Henry is PK’s Administration Assistant (pictured behind the reception desk below) who was initially employed as an office apprentice but has since achieved her NVQ level 2 & 3 in Customer Service.
Amy Kent is the Office Manager who, after taking her initial apprenticeship, then took an advanced apprenticeship in Business Administration and NVQ levels 2 & 3. She has since completed her NVQ level 3 in Business Management.
And knowing this business’ hunger for knowledge and staying ahead of the rest, there will surely be more courses on offer for all who want and need them.
So I wasn’t at all surprised to see that PK Automotive has achieved the IMI Recognised Employer status and was recently presented with the plaque by Michelle Barrett from the IMI and the local MP for Lincoln, Karl McCartney. This scheme ensures that PK’s customers can have the confidence that their car is in safe hands, and that any technician working on their car has the skills, knowledge and expertise to be able to complete the job to the highest standard.
The photograph marks the occasion of PK Automotive being presented with the IMI Recognised Employer status. From left to right; John Forrest (PK), David Holloway (PK), Lois Lane (PK), Paul Killingsworth (PK), Elaine Killingsworth (PK), Karl McCartney (Conservative MP, Lincoln), Michelle Barrett (Business Development Manager, IMI), Amy Kent (PK), Rachel Henry (PK).
As I mentioned earlier, PK Automotive Solutions and FOXY are each pro-actively backing the IMI campaign to introduce licensing in the automotive sector. This means, if this is successful, that only professionals with relevant and sufficient qualifications, expertise and skills will be able to undertake repairs on vehicles in future, ensuring customers safety and guaranteeing their peace of mind.
Karl McCartney, MP for Lincoln, also supports the IMI’s move for the automotive sector to be more regulated.
“I was very pleased to present the IMI plaque to Paul Killingsworth of PK Automotive as a result of the team’s 100% attainment of the IMI Employer Recognition Scheme.
“I am a proud champion of consumer safety and customer satisfaction and can foresee that, with the advent of ever more technically complex vehicles, and eventually driver-less cars, it is of the utmost importance that customers can trust their lives to the work done in all garages, whether large or small, both now and in the future.”
We are proud to be working with and promoting PK Automotive Solutions to local women drivers as well as ‘leaning in’ to the licensing debate together. This is the only way forward for our industry to be seen as professional, so motorists receive the service levels they deserve with a view to their road safety and wallet.