AM Online

Cash aid for women at work

Dealers have not being taking advantage of the ‘Women and Work’ funding programme through the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) which gives out £400 to businesses that invest in women.

Businesses can gain the money by proving they have already invested £1,000 in the career of a woman ranging from managerial positions to general career development in the all areas of the showroom. Only 10% of the £1,000 has to be a direct cash contribution, the rest can be made up by in-kind contributions.

The 'Women and Work' scheme encourages employers in England to take advantage of funding towards the cost of developing the skills of women in the automotive industry. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland don’t operate the same Women and Work scheme as they run on separate funding agencies.

A business can claim again as long as the funding doesn’t go to individuals who have already been on the scheme or are getting funding from another body for the same course.

Since the scheme started over 2,500 women have accessed funding to help with career development training.

Linda Stansfield, IMI chief operating officer, told AM: “I think part of the problem is that dealers think acquiring the funds is a difficult process, but it really isn’t. They just need to contact us with proof of investment and then we can hand over the money. It really is that easy.

“We have been allocated a pot of £140,000 by the Government and if the sector doesn’t take advantage then the money will be moved to other industry sectors so dealers really need to get in contact with us. We want to give it away.”

Women and Work was created to help address the gender gap between men and women in the automotive industry, with less than 20% working in the sector. Women make up the majority of workers only in administrative and secretarial roles, accounting for 70% of workers.

Many dealers have expressed their interest to AM about increasing the amount of women they employ in their businesses. However, many find it difficult to attract women specifically without breaking advertising laws.

Stansfield said: “I think making it clear that you are open to flexible working times is a real attraction to women looking for jobs at the moment. If a dealer can demonstrate that they’re more likely to attract women.”

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