National Apprenticeship Week: in conversation with female apprentices at Burrows Motor Company

In celebration of National Apprenticeship Week, here at the Automotive 30% Club, we want to celebrate just some of the incredible young women who hope to be the future of the automotive industry, and as a Degree Apprentice myself, I also wanted to share just some of the many positives that I’ve encountered during my time as an apprentice with the Automotive 30% Club.

One of those being, the ‘Search for a Star Apprenticeship Recruitment Programme’. This programme enables retailers to effectively reach out to young people to speak to them about the wide variety of job opportunities within the automotive industry and to encourage them to apply for apprenticeships and full time positions.  

The programme positions the client as the inclusive employer of choice in the community by providing careers talks, employer open days, employability skills training and work experience placements for large numbers of local school students, helping to create a diverse pool of male and female talent from which the client can select their apprentices.

Whilst the Search for a Star Programme provides access to both female and male talent, the content of the programme is carefully designed to enable greater engagement with female students who traditionally do not consider a career in the industry, and aims to reassure them and their families that the motor trade is a smart career choice. Our aim is to eliminate any barriers which may have previously been in place due to outdated recruitment methods or general judgement of the industry from parental figures or schools career guidance. 

When I was initially asked to assist with this programme, back in 2018, I was unsure about reaching out to young people who were only a couple of years younger than myself, and in many cases had much more of an idea about their career pathway than I did. However, I soon found that helping to mentor young people, and coaching people to see the very best in their own abilities has actually been the key to my own development. Not only have the Automotive 30% Club helped to recruit 35% female apprentices for our enabler client, Burrows Motor Company, throughout the duration of this programme; but those apprentices have also allowed me to reflect on my personal progression throughout this role, they’ve helped me to question whether I could do things more effectively and they have most definitely inspired me to bring my very best self to work every day.  

We recently caught up with some of Burrows’ female apprentices, who were each recruited through the Search for a Star programme, and each at different stages of their apprenticeship, to hear why they chose to embark upon the apprenticeship route and why more companies, such as Burrows, should be recruiting in this way.

Why did you choose the apprenticeship route, as opposed to a more traditional college or sixth form pathway?

I chose the apprenticeship route as I knew it would be more interactive and ‘hands-on’. Sitting in a classroom never excited me, therefore I knew that sixth form and college weren’t even an option. This route has allowed me not only to experience real life as a working adult but to set me up for a long-term career that I am more than happy in.Chloe Howes, Apprentice Sales Executive, Burrows Kia, Barnsley

I initially didn’t think about ever choosing an apprenticeship, however, when they [Gaia Innovation and Burrows] came round schools I was intrigued; found out more about what they had to offer and ended up going for it. – Megan Burton, Accounts Apprentice, Burrows Toyota, Doncaster

I chose the apprenticeship route because I had done all my training at college and wanted to start full time, but I didn’t have the confidence to. So instead I decided to apply for an application where I gained more confidence & earned at the same time. – Abbie Rose Dauris, Apprentice Vehicle Technician, Burrows Toyota, Barnsley

I chose the apprenticeship route rather than sixth form because I felt I wanted to have practical experience and learn on the job rather than just classroom-based learning.  Having experience away from a classroom was the way I wanted to go. – Shannon MacDonald, Sales Advisor, Burrows Toyota, Doncaster

Why would you encourage other companies, such as Burrows, to recruit apprentices?

I think other companies should strongly consider recruiting apprentices, as it gives young hardworking people who may not be great at “textbook learning” an opportunity to be shown. Another reason why I would encourage apprenticeships is that it encourages young people to stay in education and not drop out for work as you “learn whilst you earn” it is also nice to contribute to the community. – Megan Burton, Burrows Toyota, Doncaster

I think it is very important to include apprentices, and especially to have a variety of different age groups within a work environment as times are forever changing; young people are able to stay up to date and incorporate the modern trends and methods into their work allowing companies to reach a larger target audience. With the right training and support, I think that apprentices are a huge help to a business as these are the people who you can tailor to certain roles to help your business grow whilst helping them to grow into their role. – Chloe Howes, Apprentice Sales Executive, Burrows Kia, Barnsley – Chloe Howes, Burrows Kia, Barnsley

Why would you encourage other women to pursue a career like yours?

I would encourage women to join this occupation because it is challenging & rewarding and we need more women in this industry, there are too many men!! – Abbie Rose Dauris, Apprentice Vehicle Technician, Burrows Toyota, Barnsley

We hope to see more automotive apprentices coming through the pipeline, in order to reflect the great opportunities that are available to both female and male talent throughout the industry. 

Unfortunately, the Search for a Star Apprenticeship Recruitment Programme was unable to go ahead this year, however, if you wish to speak to our team to find out how we can help you with female apprentice recruitment, please contact Nicola: / 0114 236 0602 or connect with us through our website


Article by Sophie Oak, Degree Apprentice Communications Manager, Automotive 30% Club

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