Meet the women fixing Coventry's cars

“I may have my nails on but I can still fix a car”, prepper and sprayer Chloe Morby tells us as we sit down to chat about the motor industry. At an employment rate of 16% , women in the UK automotive industry are a largely untapped pool of talent. But what does this mean for young women in Coventry and Warwickshire ?

We met Chloe Morby, Danielle Mousley, and Katie Hawthorne at XL Motors in Longford to find out what their experiences are of Coventry’s motor industry. From spraying to prepping, towing and delivering your cars, these are the women that are changing the landscape of the automotive industry.

Not your average nine to five

Sprayers Chloe and Danielle have known each other for more than ten years. They spoke of how once they finished school, and sixth form didn’t feel like a fit, the college options for girls were pretty limited.

“There’s more to life than hair and beauty”, Danielle told us. Chloe ended up drifting into a beauty course after school but “just didn’t enjoy it.” The 20-year-old told us how one day she saw someone spraying a car at college and she changed her career path to fully qualify as a car prepper and sprayer.

This allowed her to combine her creative side with her practical ability to “completely prep and fix a car.”

Are there just too many roadblocks?

Progress to change the gender makeup of the car industry isn’t going to be quick. But incremental changes mean that soon, working in the automotive industry will be more of an option for many young women. Despite there being 11.8 million female licence holders in the UK, figures from Auto Trader state that 83% of women don’t trust manufacturers.

The imbalance could also explain why many women don’t feel confident in dealing with automotive issues. That lack of confidence isn’t confined to women though, as tow truck driver Katie tells us. She told us how “one man even refused to let me drive his car onto my truck”.

There have also been times when she has called to confirm a job and the customer assumes she is the secretary calling to arrange, as opposed to the person towing and fixing their car. Katie is now six weeks into her job at XL Motors, a role which she got after applying for 97 others. Chloe adds: “With us being females, it doesn’t mean we can’t do the same job as what the men do.”

All three of the women were keen to emphasise that schools should show that getting into the automotive industry is a viable and realistic option. Danielle said: “Options like this just aren’t put out there, you don’t know unless you make time to go to each induction day. Schools don’t tell you.”

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Shifting the industry into high gear

All three feel supported in their jobs at XL Motors and the pay off is clear to see.

To enhance female talent in this field, it’s more than just thinking that is required. It’s about making positive decisions to advance females within the workforce, to step towards the industry’s collective goal of gender parity. While all three women face daily challenges, especially Katie whose role is more customer facing, they all feel this is something they will pursue long term.

“This is something different, no two jobs are the same,” the tow truck driver tells us. The industry does have some catching up to do, but it’s not stopping these women from blazing a trail for the future. When asked what they would say to young girls thinking of entering the industry, Chloe and Danielle made clear people should find out what their college is offering and “go for it”.

Chloe finishes off by saying she hopes to own her own repair company one day. “It feels like I’ve found my place.”

  

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