Bodyshop group Nationwide Accident Repair Services has launched its 2011 drive for apprentices.
It has done so with a call from chief executive Michael Wilmshurst for more young women to consider a career in the motor repair sector.
Last year Nationwide received 4,778 apprenticeship applications, of which less than 8% were from female school leavers.
In 2011 Nationwide wants at least 73 new apprentices in vehicle technician and commercial roles.
These vary from paint spraying and panel beating to parts supply, customer service and marketing or finance.
In 2010, Nationwide hired 13 female apprentices throughout the year – compared to just five in 2008 - which was proportionally higher than the number of female applications received.
“We are actively encouraging young women to apply for both the vehicle-technician and the commercial roles, as we are still receiving a relatively small number of applications,” said Louisa Walker, recruitment team leader at Nationwide.
“There is a misconception that the automotive repair industry is still ‘just for boys’ but this is absolutely not the case.
Interesting, the majority of applications we received from young women in 2010 were for the vehicle technician roles, rather than the corporate roles. There is equal opportunity to succeed on the workshop floor and in the boardroom – so there are fantastic opportunities for women who join the business as school leavers.
“We work hard at Nationwide to support our apprentices and encourage learning in the workplace and at college – so it is a great environment for dedicated, enthusiastic 16 to 19 year olds.”
Nationwide invests over £2m per year in its apprenticeship programme. The business employs up to 250 apprentices at any one time and, of those who complete their training and qualifications, 90% stay with the company to continue their careers.