Tag Archives: female

Who’s the mug? Jezza or the BBC?

mugslap400How ridiculous. The top news billing by Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 yesterday afternoon was all about whether Jezza was to be sacked or not. Relegating the German air disaster to second place.

Have we all gone completely mad?

As fond as I was of the Top Gear boys I’m not sorry their days are numbered. I can’t see anyone replacing Jezza in terms of bad behaviour and even if the BBC tries to, it won’t be the same or as good.

It’s over…

What will Jezza do instead?

Let’s not worry too much about big boy Jezza I say! Assuming this wasn’t a put up job, he will have a cunning plan B you can be sure. As I see it (and would do myself in the unlikely event of me EVER being in his situation, haha…) the BBC can’t stop him earning a living so he’s likely (and surely free?) to replicate the ‘Boys Behaving Badly’ formula elsewhere. For example, whilst the use of explosives in classrooms and kitchens will make entertaining and scientific adult TV (albeit potentially dangerous…), blowing up cars, caravans and whatever his latest ‘up yours’ wheeze, doesn’t necessarily make this a driving programme.

What the BBC will have created is the Jeremy Clarkson ‘Boy Behaving Badly’ brand and show which may or may not sit nicely on a Sunday evening on a TV screen near you.

An alternative to Top Gear?

Let’s not worry too much about the BBC either! They might even decide it’s politically correct time for a motoring programme for and about women?

I’m picturing a programme that includes amateur fast women racers strutting their stuff – there are many who can’t get the sponsorship money men do. Let them prove what they can do around a track, like Dunsfold perhaps, and then invite their male (amateur) equivalents to race them/see who wins in the end.

This could be run a la X-Factor; with regional aptitude/interview/speed trials – all filmed of course and more about the people than the cars.

By all means involve Jodie Kidd, Vicki Butler-Henderson and Nurburgring’s Sabine Schmitt in case a well known name with a motoring pedigree is needed to front this.

One thing is for sure, all the women would be MUCH better looking than Jeremy Clarkson.

We could then add in reviews of cars by and for women plus mystery visits to car showrooms & garages and so on…

Out of this will likely emerge a BIG female personality to win the hearts and souls of the TV watching public – the ones that couldn’t stand Jezza probably.

Why not give us girls a chance to do things our way, BBC, and confound those stereotypical male perceptions about our driving knowledge and ability once and for all?


Fabulous female garage feedback

welldonegiftcardfrontThis is a story in its own right so I thought I’d simply cut ‘n’ paste Dane’s garage feedback so all could see it in its entirety.

This is how a genuinely female friendly garage should look after its customers and why this makes good business sense in the end…

It’s rare for customers to want to tell us so much good news but we’re delighted of course and this simply means a fight to see who will carry out their evidently straightforward compliance visit later this year.

Name of garage: Toronto Garage Ltd
Purpose of visit: MOT & tyres this time
Location/town: Wallasey, Wirral
Car make/model: Ford Fiesta
Month/year of garage visit: August 2014

Comments: I’ve just had my MOT done at Toronto Garage. As always, I received friendly, top quality service at a reasonable price (I’m so glad they send me a letter reminding me when my MOT is coming up, I’d forgotten this time!).

Toronto Garage was recommended to me just over 10 years ago by a colleague who has been with them for many years. Being a girl and not knowing much about cars, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first went, but they have always given me great prices and only done work that really needed doing. When the company moved premises a few years ago, I kept going to them even though they were further away from my home because I trust them to do a great job and not rip me off. They have never let me down.

Over the ten years I have been going to Toronto Garage, I have had MOTs, services, mechanical repairs, new tyres etc (I’ve had two quite old cars). Every time I need something doing, they will explain it to me first and say how much it will cost before I decide to go ahead with it. Shona, Mike and the team have always been very friendly and welcoming, it’s a pleasure doing business with them. I know that even when they are busy they will find a way to fit me in somehow. It takes the worry away when you know that you are dealing with a company that is so reliable.

I’m not usually confident about getting a courtesy car out of it’s parking place. Mike has always been very helpful and will drive the car onto the road for me, making it very easy to use. Sometimes instead of choosing to use a courtesy car, I have a walk around the shops in Moreton. It’s a lovely way to pass the time while my car’s being fixed. Or you can walk down to the lighthouse and the sea if you don’t want to sit in the waiting area. It’s a great location.

I would highly recommend Toronto Garage to any female (or male) drivers. If you have any worries or questions just ask them, they are so lovely. It’s worth travelling a bit further for a garage you can really rely on. I cannot recommend them highly enough.

Marks out of 10 = 11!

Female Friendly Garage Rating:
Cleanliness: 5
Female Friendly: 5
Quality of workmanship: 5
Value for money: 5
Welcome: 5
Full Name: Dane Shadows
Permission to include name: Y

Lovely to read how it should be even if I can’t get it to add up to 11!

Congratulations Toronto Garage – that’s going some…


More female motor industry apprentices needed

School students learning about career opportunities at Jaguar Land Rover
School students learning about career opportunities at Jaguar Land Rover
In last week’s Budget George Osborne announced his backing for apprenticeship schemes – marking a genuine recognition from the Government for apprenticeships with employers and jobseekers alike.

That’s good news to me if it includes funds to help us promote apprenticeships in the motor industry to females in advance of their GCSE studies.

At present the industry is missing out because it’s the girls that are getting the better STEM (Science, Techniology, Engineering and Mathematics) results but few know much about motor industry careers.

The IMI recently published the results of a two year project to prove the value of apprentices in the automotive sector. This proved that vocational training does not have to be a cost-burden to business – quite the opposite it seems.

Not only do apprenticeships reduce youth unemployment but the IMI’s research shows that, by the end of their third year, the right apprentice can generate between 150% and 300% return on investment, based on a £50 hourly charge. In other words, for every £1 a firm invests, it will see a return of between £1.50 and £3.

“Our research proves that businesses can reap genuine financial rewards from employing young people” explains Steve Nash, the IMI’s Chief Executive.

“Vince Cable has said that the Government wants to change young people’s thinking and make it the new norm that they either go to university or pick an apprenticeship. That is a fantastic attitude and one that the IMI wholeheartedly supports – if it comes to fruition. However what we now need from the Government is a clear strategy on how – and where – its promised new funding will be delivered.”

To be specific, how much of this money is coming the way of the motor industry so we can help support businesses who want to expand their workforce to benefit the UK economy. And, from FOXY’s point of view, attract young female students by promoting the exciting motor industry careers too many are missing out on.

Gender bias in apprenticeships

candgcareersadvicegirlsvboysYoung men are twice as likely to be encouraged to take an apprenticeship as women, according to new research from the City & Guilds Group.

A survey of more than 2000 young professionals (aged 18 – 31) showed that a third of the men were encouraged to take an apprenticeship in school compared to just 17% of women, suggesting that girls are still being held back by stereotypical perceptions of the ‘right’ career path for them.

This is interesting because it supports the view that there is more that can be done to improve the careers advice given in schools, particularly where this concerns apprenticeships and fails to put the spotlight on these as attractive alternatives to expensive University education.

Apprenticeships allow students to earn whilst learning and whilst gaining a valuable qualification towards their future career.

This week is National Apprenticeship Week #NAW2014 and I attended a Learners Day on Monday to see a programme likely to change these perceptions in future as organised by Raytheon Professional Services in Nottingham.

During the course of the day I saw pre GCSE female students from Witton Park comprehensive school in Blackburn changing their minds about a career in the motor industry after as little as 5 hours. It took a carefully crafted, cleverly targeted and relevant careers programme to do this of course.


Particular highlights for me included the students using the latest Vauxhall diagnostic equipment (making car washers, wipers and horns work remotely) plus informative sessions from Pendragon’s Charlotte Potter and The IMI’s Emily Hakansson.

Both Charlotte and Emily focused on the fantastic range of motor industry careers that are equally available and rewarding for females as they are for males.

From an initial 2 students expressing a halfhearted interest in motor industry careers, a lively five hour programme quickly transformed this into an enthusiastic and committed total of six likely motor industry ambassadors.

Yes the sample is too small to be statistically meaningful but bearing in mind this was the transformation within a group of just 11 girls, it’s not hard to see the potential multiplier effect when a similar programme is rolled out elsewhere.

Furthermore it may demonstrate a lack of understanding that many of today’s school pupils have about apprenticeships for the reason that few teachers have any real work experience outside education, suggested by Business Secretary Vince Cable MP today.

All this points to the power of and the need for more effective marketing communications in this area. Sadly all this costs money but someone clearly needs to educate teachers to do a better job here. This is surely a missing link in their education process? Perhaps the Business Secretary should talk to the Education Secretary about ways they both can make things better here?

We surely need everyone on the same side here to benefit the UK economy? And to make sure that our pupils know ALL their career options at as early a stage as possible.


By all means join in this debate at Twitter, please use #NAW2014 and our Twitter feed @FOXYtweets.

The motor industry needs MORE WOMEN

WeNeedYouI run FOXY Lady Drivers Club and if the motor industry was more female friendly in the first place I doubt we’d exist as it was borne out of our daughter’s bad garage experience quite a while ago now!

Nowadays things have moved on for FOXY and yet the industry still needs many more women in it to make it ‘seem’ a more female friendly place for future employees and customers alike.

I use the word ‘seem’ because a lot of the female apprehension I encounter is stereotypical, out of date and there are many female friendly employers who are harnessing the advantages of having women in their workforce. Most of these are in front of house customer service and sales roles where our natural people skills can come to the fore.

Sadly, as a result of this ‘no go’ perception, which is often influenced by out of date parents I hasten to add, too many young women are missing out on some really exciting career opportunities in an industry that is crying out for them; even if it doesn’t realise it or know how to go about recruiting us.

This is particularly bad news for the industry of course because female graduates are outperforming their male counterparts in many disciplines but they are less interested in (or knowledgeable about) motor industry careers.

Start at the top

beale1Yes we need to start by recruiting more Women Board Directors at the top of the motor industry in the male dominated boardrooms of vehicle manufacturers and dealership groups.

Knowing that there are now more women drivers than male drivers on US roads (how many Board Chairman realise this I wonder?) and that the UK will likely follow suit, it’s about time that more UK Boards realised that a male-led agenda doesn’t make them a female friendly employer and that female shoppers are increasingly favouring businesses that clearly understand and meet their needs.

Getting it right for females is therefore a HUGE business opportunity and should surely be a strategic item on all Board agendas; especially knowing the shift to girl power and her financial influence on others is happening during their watch.

The message for female students

JLR_0525The industry needs to get its message out to young women at grass root levels as well. Companies like Jaguar Land Rover’s ‘Inspiring Tomorrow’s Engineers: Young Women in the Know’ course are leading the field here for sound commercial reasons. Women don’t have to get their hands dirty or wear overalls although how else would female engineers, like those in the photo, start their career other than by a hands on induction programme?

And well run garages don’t have to be dirty although far too many still are grubby places in my experience. Having said that I’ve been encouraged by many of the immaculate FOXY Lady Approved accident repair centres I’ve visited recently.

Other than this, all businesses should look at their female friendly employer credentials and have these added to their recruitment campaigns to give them women appeal. Sadly this will be a very short list for most.

Barriers to female appeal

We have women running motor racing teams, excellent but rare apprenticeship schemes for females, women heading up motor industry associations, running their own garages, car dealerships, car parts and leasing companies and so on. But why are we still seen as the exception and not the norm I wonder?

Why, for example, aren’t there more women in car showrooms selling us cars? And accompanying women on test drives. I’m told it’s an antisocial job and women don’t want to do the hours. But nobody asks the ‘right’ women about the hours they could work, even if these are shorter shifts. Or gives them the chance to show what they can do.

I say the ‘right’ women because all too often I come across females who have been employed for their looks rather than their work ethic. I say this with sincere apologies to all those good looking, hard working and ambitious females out there – I am sure they understand the point I am making which is that the ‘wrong’ female employees simply reinforce the stereotypical perception too many men have of us on the shop floor to begin with. You must employ the RIGHT females and they must always be the BEST recruits even if they lack industry experience and need training.

Sadly the industry has been such a male stronghold for so long that too many men can’t imagine there might be a different/better way to do their business. Which of course is likely given an open rather than closed mindset.

Are you a female friendly employer?

Finally, and to make my point crystal clear in case I haven’t been so far ;)… I recall a recent Twitter exchange with a Chairman of a leading dealership group who was too busy to see me but asked me to meet two of his senior female management colleagues.

I duly discussed our FOXY Lady Approved female friendly scheme with them to be told, in confidence, that they could not endorse that business as a female friendly one. So the Chairman still thinks his business is a female friendly one but it clearly isn’t and sadly his senior management ladies don’t feel able to tell him this…

I suspect they aren’t the only leading Group to have this dilemma, or for female staff to feel they can only admit this to an outsider, in strict confidence.


My LinkedIn profile

PS To find out more about the many career opportunities in the motor industry I recommend the Autocity website .

To find out about the many apprenticeships in the motor industry I suggest you start with the IMI’s programme.