Industry networking event for female automotive apprentices aims to make the sector more appealing and accessible to women

As part of the drive to close the gender gap in the automotive industry, Shell Helix Motor Oils has sponsored the National Franchised Dealers Association’s (NFDA) first networking day for female apprentice technicians as part of its ‘Drive My Career’ initiative. The NFDA represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK.

Drive My Career is a platform which aims to attract a wider and more diverse pool of candidates into the automotive sector. One of its key focus areas is to make the sector more accessible and appealing to women, and to connect leading retail automotive employers with the workforce of the future.

The first Drive My Career networking event was held on 11 December 2019. Event delegates from across the UK included 41 female Apprentice Technicians in the retail motor sector, together with HR professionals and representatives from a network of car and commercial vehicle dealerships. They came together to share their industry experiences and discuss ways in which to drive greater diversity, support career progression and create leadership opportunities for women in the automotive sector.

Networking sessions explored the challenges, misconceptions and opportunities of developing a more diverse workforce in the automotive industry. The event also gave delegates the chance to hear from and engage with keynote speaker, Laura Taylor, Aftersales Manager for Marshall Motor Group, and her career journey so far in the sector. Representatives from Lookers, a UK car dealership that has played an integral role in developing the Drive My Career network, were also on hand to share and hear experiences with the attendees.

Through events such as these, Shell and the NFDA aim to further develop Drive My Career amongst automotive dealers, helping to bring more diversity to the industry and helping to boost opportunities for career progression. Shell is proud to sponsor such an event as part of Shell’s broader efforts to support greater diversity and inclusion in Industry and beyond.

Sue Robinson, Director of the NFDA said, “It is extremely positive to see the automotive industry join forces to promote and celebrate inclusivity in the sector, one of the key goals of Drive My Career. A diverse and representative workforce is a huge benefit to automotive retailers, especially in a time when our sector is facing major changes and fast developments.”

“We thank our sponsor, Shell Helix Motor Oils, and all the members of Drive My Career for their continued support. We look forward to hosting more events as part of our Driving Inclusivity in Automotive series”.

Britt Burnett, General Manager Marketing and Technical Europe for Shell commented, “Shell is proud to play a key role in promoting diversity in traditionally male-dominated sectors such as engineering and automotive, to ensure there is more parity, inclusion and young talent in tomorrow’s workforce. Sponsoring the first ever networking event for female apprentices in the automotive industry is an important step towards addressing the significant gender and skills gap currently within the industry.”

Drive My Career promotes apprenticeship and career opportunities in the retail automotive industry by connecting candidates with their next employer from hundreds of dealerships across the UK. Visit the Drive My Career and National Franchised Dealers Association websites to find out more.