Congratulations to MET apprentice graduate, Jessica Sevellec, who was recently awarded the title of 2017 Thatcham Research Apprentice of the Year AND named Solus Apprentice of the Year in June - what a summer!
AutoRaise caught up with Jessica to find out what attracted her to the vehicle repair industry...
Q: What an achievement - two awards - well done, Jessica! How does it feel to be named apprentice of the year by both Thatcham and your employer, Solus?
A: It felt pretty good, I was surprised but it was nice to see how proud my family and Solus were when I got the awards.
Q: What attracted you to this industry?
A: I've always been interested in cars and after stripping down my classic mini with one of my brother's, I realised I would enjoy working with cars as a career, and then looked into it further when finishing college.
Q: How important has the support of family and friends been to help you get to this point in your career?
A: It's been really important, they've always been an ear to listen and always pushed me to do well and given advice when I've needed it.
Q: Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
A: I love doing all sorts of sports - playing football, cycling, kayaking - and going to car shows with family and friends.
Q: Within your circle of friends, how does your work/life balance compare?
A: It is fairly similar, as most work full-time too, so we make time in the evenings and weekends to see each other.
Q: If you had to describe your journey as an apprentice in three words, what would you say?
A: Informative, transformational, confidence-building.
Q: What advice would you offer to someone considering a bodyshop apprenticeship?
A: Do it! There's no better way to get into the industry and to learn on the job with experts of the trade.
Q: What is the best thing about being an apprentice?
A: I think it would be the variety of tasks that I've had over the three years, no two days are the same.
Q: And what was most challenging?
A: I struggled with the observed assessments with my Thatcham assessor watching what I was doing as I would worry I was doing it wrong, even when it was something I could do.
Q: What were you most surprised to learn about the role?
A: The full range of skills the technicians have and the extent of time and work that goes into each job.
Q: How have Solus - managers, colleagues, fellow-apprentices - helped you?
A: They've helped me so much, I couldn't have completed my apprenticeship without their knowledge, experience and helpfulness.
Q: What advice would you give to other apprentices - perhaps to someone who is finding the practical skills or evidence-collecting side of an apprenticeship a challenge?
A: Put yourself out your comfort zone to do more complex jobs, even alongside someone else, to get the experience and to build confidence doing them.
Q: What are you most proud of?
A: When I think back to when I first started and I couldn't do something simple like take a door card off, and now I do that every day along with the rest of the door too.
Q: Where do you see yourself in the future?
A: I'd like to progress out of the workshop, to perhaps a leadership role.
Q: Are there any areas of support that organisations such as AutoRaise should be offering to young people to encourage them to consider a career in vehicle repair?
A: I think more exposure to the industry whilst at school to advertise the opportunities available would be beneficial, to provide an alternative option to further education.