Working in a female friendly garage in Woodley, Berkshire

Working in a female friendly garage in Woodley, Berkshire

Both Julie Newitt (right of the photo) and Christine Kimber (middle of the photo) are Female Business Ambassadors who work at Woodley Autocentre, a female friendly garage in Woodley near Reading in Berkshire.

Woodley Autocentre is part of the Woodley Autos Group which includes a second garage in Wargrave and a car parts and accessory distribution service throughout Berkshire and Oxfordshire.

Woodley Autocentre provides car servicing, MOT and mechanical repairs and is part of FOXY Lady Drivers Club’s Car Fitness Check network providing Club members and their families with free seasonal Car Fitness Checks; these include oil, tyre, coolant, emissions, battery checks, aircon, brake fluid and anti-freeze checks.

An introduction to Julie and Christine

Julie: I went into the motor trade after running my own catering business. I fancied a complete change.

Christine: This is my first job in the industry. By the end of 2012 I’ll have been at Woodley Autocentre for 12 years which is a good endorsement for any business.

Please tell us about the jobs you do.

Julie: I am a Service Adviser which means I deal with customers face to face and on the phone. I make bookings for cars and keep the customers informed during any work, especially where we find any unforeseen problems which need attention and might cost more. I also order up any parts that might need to be bought.

Christine: I look after the Service reception area – this involves taking customer bookings, preparing job cards for the workshop and checking & completing service schedules. I also remind motorists when it’s time to visit the garage, for their MOT or car servicing.

What makes this a good job for you?

Julie: It helps that I am local and I really do enjoy dealing with people.

Christine: I can work part time and it’s a local business – I’m very lucky really.

What do you enjoy most?

Julie: My work is varied and never boring. Doing many different things is often a challenge and I enjoy that.

Christine: I enjoy the office buzz as well as being part of a team and working with my colleagues.

What services does Woodley Autocentre offer that seem to appeal to busy women?

Julie: I find that women really do appreciate our free car collection service in that we can collect the car from their home or workplace. This is a flexible service to suit our customers. Alternatively we can provide a loan car, as long as this is booked well in advance.

Christine: I’d add the fact that we work around school runs to help Mums and we always explain what needs doing clearly and without using jargon where we can. Women tend to feel more relaxed a when woman explains; they are more likely to ask questions of us.

What advice would you give young women wanting to work in the motor industry.

Julie: I’d say ‘go for it’ because it’s an interesting job and the industry needs more women in it. Do keep an open mind though as you will be working with men who mightn’t be used to working with women. But they soon learn…

Christine: I’d say, look out for FOXY Lady signs for evidence of a female friendly business. Do they employ women too?

What advice would you give to employers wanting to employ women in future.

Julie: I’d say remember that we’re different from men and we might find a male dominated workplace a bit off putting to start with. And to be gentle with us until we get into our stride.

Christine: I’d say we have a lot to offer and if you want to know more about female customers, you can ask us. I’d also want them to know that women aren’t daft even if we aren’t all petrolheads or terribly technical. We are quick learners and they can then leave it to us I’d say.

Thank you Julie and Christine for your time.

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