We recently caught up with Automotive 30% Club Member, Solus Accident Repair to hear how they are helping to promote, attract and retain female apprentices, and how joining the Automotive 30% Club has boosted their activity to attract the best young female talent.
“As an accident repair owned by Aviva, we share its values of inclusivity and diversity which have helped us to promote, attract and retain a growing number of female apprentices. Since the start of our apprentice programme in 2014, we have recruited over 50 rising stars, with 8 of these being female apprentices. It’s a positive start to our goal of developing a more diverse workforce, aided by Simon Smith joining the Automotive 30% Club which has boosted our activity to attract the best young female talent to the business.
Steph Brindley, Regional Operations Lead, is putting together a strategy to fulfil the goal we share with the club, which is for women to occupy 30% of leadership roles by 2030. Bringing the best young female talent into the business plants the seeds for future leaders to grow and Steph has made it her mission to make this happen. She has been involved with numerous club activities that showcase why Solus should be the number one employer of choice for young women looking to join our industry. She says,
“Not many bodyshops have joined the Automotive 30% Club forum. In everything Solus does, we like to stand out from the rest and be leaders rather than followers. Only today I had a great call with Karen Greenwood, our Head of HR, where we are looking at our strategy for an inclusive workplace. The ideas we were generating, and further activities we can do, aim to make everyone at Solus a part of this legacy. This will be key to making Solus the number one employer of choice for young women in our industry. I really can’t wait to get started.”
We’re proud of the early progress in implementing our strategy, but don’t just take our word for it- female apprentice Fan Lamoli, explains how the nurturing environment that we provide has helped her settle in since she joined us in August. She says,
“I started off in the automotive industry when I joined college to study mechanics. During my time at college, I didn’t receive much help or support from the staff. An opportunity then came up at Solus Leatherhead as a panel beater /multiskilled apprentice. As soon as I joined Solus, I was made to feel like I’m part of the team straight away and the help I receive on a daily basis has exceeded my expectations. I was assigned a mentor, Paul Taylor, who is teaching me the skills I need to become a qualified panel beater. Not only that but my colleagues also teach me life skills and help me whenever I need them. At Solus, the apprentices, including me, are well taken care of and I am lucky to be given the opportunity to be training here.”
Once we’ve promoted Solus as a place to work and attracted female candidates to apply for an apprenticeship, we understand the importance of keeping them throughout their careers, giving them the best opportunities to unlock their potential.
We’re unique in the industry by providing all our apprentices with over £1000 worth of tools allowing them to confidently put their learning into practice. Retaining our rising stars is a priority, and to achieve this, the support that they receive from the Thatcham and Aviva Academies keeps them focused and engaged with their learning. Each apprentice is also partnered with a mentor who is there to coach and encourage them every step of the way.
Our leaders are finding that by promoting our apprenticeships as a career choice for young women, we’re putting a spotlight on an industry that they may not have previously considered. We treat everyone equally based on their attitude and capabilities rather than their gender or skin colour. It’s a winning formula that has produced some real success stories with Jess Sevellec and Kelly Vieira being the only two female apprentices to have ever won Thatcham’s Apprentice of the Year, both having served their apprenticeships at Solus.
Our apprentices of today are our leaders of tomorrow, and we remain committed to attracting more female candidates to Solus working with the Automotive 30% Club to build a better future for everyone.”