Lesley Woolley, Chief Operating Officer, Institute of the Motor Industry - Patron of the Automotive 30% Club and Partner Sponsor [photograph]
“I am tremendously proud to be a Patron of the Automotive 30% Club and, in particular, that the IMI has decided to be the Automotive 30% Club Partner Sponsor following on from our involvement in the Inspiration for Innovation Network which the IMI previously sponsored.

Many have gone before us to open doors for women across all sectors of business and industry; it’s our responsibility now not to waste the efforts of those trailblazers. Girls at school should be able to see that they can do whatever they want, in whatever sector they choose. And for those of us in leadership roles in automotive, it is imperative that we ensure those future generations can see that our sector will inspire, enthuse and reward them equally.”

As the Chief Operating Officer of the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) since 2016, I have worked in the automotive professional body for more than three decades. Certainly, much has changed in terms of the technology and innovation in automotive in that time, but what hasn’t changed is the importance of giving every individual the right recognition for their skills and professionalism. This, I believe, is key to each person having the best career and life-chance opportunities which, in turn, means the best possible workplace satisfaction. And happy employees usually mean happy customers!
Throughout my career I have championed initiatives that empower personal development and career progression, finding ways to give anyone working in the sector access to the tools and support to capitalise on their abilities. I am also a fervent believer that variety and diversity in all walks of life will deliver the best outcomes for all. It was tremendously exciting, therefore, to be able to work with Professor Jim Saker, President of the IMI, to lead the IMI Diversity Task Force.

The IMI Diversity Task Force was established to understand the challenges and barriers under-represented groups face when working in, or trying to enter automotive. The insight it has delivered, particularly in its 2022 report, now gives us a critical benchmark from which to achieve and measure change.

Indeed, our new There’s More to Motor campaign, which launched in September, was a direct result of the Diversity Task Force’s report recommendations.

The campaign recognises that despite it being the most exciting time to work in automotive in a century, there are many misconceptions about the sector which have contributed to record high vacancies. There are a multitude of reasons why we have arrived at this point but unquestionably the lack of diversity that currently exists is a contributing factor. However, achieving and sustaining a truly diverse workforce requires significant change, and that change needs to be informed by industry insight and those with real-life experiences.

That’s why we’re on a mission at the IMI to challenge the misconceptions of the industry head on; champion the sector and drive recruitment and change through a new diverse workforce; and to start plugging the vacancies and skills gaps.

The automotive sector will be a better place, for employees and customers, if there is greater diversity in the opportunities available. There’s plenty of data that supports the argument that businesses with good diversity thrive, but I believe that intuitively it is just the right thing to do.