Tag Archives: Autocity

Exciting careers in the motor industry

city_college_4v1It’s GCSE results time again which reminded me of my son and his further education and career experiences.

He took an International Baccalaureate (IB) instead of A Levels – this was a really tough option involving higher subjects Chemistry, Biology and Maths plus German, Economics and English, hands-on community work, running a marathon for Macmillan Cancer Support, a challenging extended essay, some philosophical studies and more.

To cut a long story short he didn’t get the University grades as expected and his interest in Science had clearly waned during the 6th Form… So he turned to apprenticeships to avoid paying the new £9000 annual tuition fees.

Instead he joined an insurance company as their first motor claims apprentice, earning whilst learning a new skill. After a year they offered him a junior claims role. After another year he moved into their associated fraud department and he’s just moved up another scale in this field. He has taken the first of his CII exams and is planning two more.

He’s 21 now and hopes to go to University at a later stage. When I asked him whether he’d go back to his scientific studies he said no, he was no longer interested in that field. Just imagine how hard he’d have worked at University to graduate with an expensive degree in a discipline he no longer loved?

Better surely I say that he has gained invaluable life skills in these three years, including leaving home, self-funding flat-living, having a good social life and learning whilst earning.

Motor Industry Apprenticeships

His experience and a recent research project made me look at apprenticeships in the motor industry in some detail. I learned about the IMI’s AutoCity careers website; a fun resource to help parents and pupils alike learn about the staggering range of motor careers on offer.

In 2014 the automotive industry is campaigning for a more professional industry in garages and accident repair workshops. As things stand, qualified technicians can earn upwards of £25k.

Less surprising perhaps is that the motor industry is courting female students in engineering roles, because we’re good at STEM subjects at GCSE level. We then head off into more pastoral areas it seems, which is a loss to the motor industry I’d suggest, but we also need more young females in customer service roles and selling cars that they mightn’t always know about or consider.

In a nutshell we want parents and young students to appreciate that the automotive industry is a massive job and wealth creator in the UK. The opportunities for hard working talented individuals are huge and, in my experience, a career in the motor industry is varied and always fun.

I recently carried out some research into the motivation and perceptions of young apprentices. Those who were naturals in mechanical apprenticeships loved diagnosing problems, fixing things and solving problems. Those who excelled in customer service roles understood that the motor industry is and should always be more about people than engines.

My conclusion is that students and their parents need to consider all career options based on their GCSE results. I’d hope that they wouldn’t write off the motor industry based on its past. This would be a big mistake with a view to the future.

If I can help in any way, by all means email me direct via info@foxyladydrivers.com.

To find out about career options in the motor industry I recommend parents and students alike visit the Autocity website – autocity.org.uk.

Motorsport careers are good for girls

Whilst you don’t have to be an engineering student to enjoy an exciting career in the UK motor industry, three female students studying motorcycle maintenance at Mid-Cheshire College were given a special insight into careers in motorsport at Oulton Park recently.


Carol Spencer, Samantha Royle and Louise Doyle spent the morning working on cars used for Oulton Park’s driving experiences, including single seaters, rally cars and BMW M3s. Supervised by Oulton Park’s female Engineering Team Leader Sophy Owen, they were rewarded in the afternoon by enjoying some of the driving experiences on offer at the Cheshire circuit, including YoungDrive! – an introductory driving course in a BMW 1 Series for 11 to 17-year-olds.

Louise said “My personal highlights were at the beginning of the day when we had a look at the single seater race car, the rally car and then the BMW M3. In the afternoon I had the experience of driving round a rally circuit. I had no idea how much I had already learnt when the staff were explaining the mechanics behind the vehicles and the checks that they do to make sure the cars are safe.”

Samantha was equally impressed: “The team at Oulton Park made us feel very welcome and took time to go into great detail with the vehicles. The highlight for the day I have to say was the YoungDrive experience,” she continued “and being introduced to this side of engineering has opened new doors for me and set me targets for the future I would not have even considered setting myself up until this experience.”

Driving experience days at Oulton Park including M3 Master and YoungDrive! can be booked by calling 0843 453 1000.

For more details of exciting careers in the UK motor industry, visit the AutoCity website.

This is an industry that knows it needs more women in it to get service levels right in future. You don’t have to be male, an engineer or technically-minded because there are jobs in Marketing, Sales, Accounts, Customer Service and many other important administrative roles. The opportunities are definitely there for determined, talented and ambitious females to make it right to the very top.


Helping women up the career ladder

I am passionate about encouraging women to join the motor industry and then move up the career ladder to make this a more female friendly environment for all – ALL customers and future female employees alike.

This is for sound business not feminist reasons as women are VERY IMPORTANT and often MISUNDERSTOOD customers who buy for family members as well as themselves and they influence others. Get it right for us and we stay loyal; get it wrong and we go elsewhere, sharing this with others as we move on.  If that’s not good enough reason, we also know that many women prefer dealing with women in male dominated industries.

At the recent AM Used Car Market Conference I mentioned that it’s easier for men to recruit in their own likeness, not realising that few women read motor sections in local papers or look at jobs in what they see as an industry that isn’t genuinely female friendly enough. So employers have to want to employ females to begin with, to stop the self perpetuating male recruitment cycle, then get their thinking caps on about how to attract the very best men and women candidates alike.

One way for employers to encourage female recruits would be to demonstrate that they already employ female staff (by promoting them as Female Business Ambassadors perhaps). They can also ask existing female staff how to recruit in their own likeness for a change. Alternatively employers might decide to improve existing female staff skills through training; so they can move up the career ladder and take on more valuable roles in the business.

If you are a female reading this and interested in knowing more about the motor industry I suggest you visit the excellent Autocity website.

If you are an employer and would like to encourage a tried and tested female member of staff into a bigger and better job, you may well be interested in valuable funding from the Women and Work Sector Paths Initiative to help with training opportunities.

The funding initiative is available for women in England going through career development training courses between now and February 2011; there’s no time to waste if you’re interested. Employers need to be seen to spend a minimum of £1000* for a funding grant of £400 per participant. Whilst that might sound onerous in today’s economy, you can count in her legitimate employment costs in the £1000 which should go a long way towards demonstrating this. Providing you contribute a minimum of £100 in cash, you may well qualify AND you’ll improve employee performance, staff retention and your customer service in one.

For more information about the Women and Work scheme and how to get involved, please contact Emma Lawson on 01992 511521 or emmal@motor.org.uk. But don’t hang about.


To find genuinely female friendly garages and dealerships near you, or to leave female feedback about one that isn’t listed yet, you can do this at the FOXY Choice website.