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