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Apprentice case study – Solus Coventry

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?
 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?
 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?
 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?
 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?
 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?
 Informative, transformational, confidence-building.

Q: What advice would you offer to someone considering a bodyshop apprenticeship?
 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?
 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?
 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?
 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?
 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?
 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?
 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?
 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?
 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.

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