To celebrate International Women’s Day 2019, we’re bringing you spotlights on women working across Lookers who are paving the way in a male dominated industry. We discover what motivates them, why they love working at Lookers and how we could get a better balance of gender across the workplace.
Lookers have already taken steps to make the workplace more inclusive for women, with strategies such as creating a female apprentice network, becoming part of the automotive 30% club and by offering industry leading maternity leave. However, there is still more to be done before we can become a truly gender-balanced workplace.
Over the coming weeks and months, we will bring you stories of women across the workplace, continuing to shed light on the themes of International Women’s Day across the year until the next event in 2020.
As it is International Women’s Day, we thought a great way to celebrate would be to catch up with one of our female technicians. We chatted to Hayley Pearson, Vehicle Technician at Lookers Vauxhall St Helens. Hayley started her career in the motor industry at the age of 17, working in an independent garage owned by a family friend. She joined the Lookers’ apprenticeship programme and has spent over two years working in the Service department, learning everything there is to know about being a great Technician and forging a successful career in a traditionally male environment.
Tell us a little bit about your role and why you decided to become a Technician.
I never really wanted to sit in an office or have the same routine which is why I decided to become a mechanic. I needed a challenge and wanted to do something that wasn’t an average ‘girl job.’ My role is always varied – typical tasks could be anything from a full vehicle health checks to technicalities such as rebuilding parts.
Were there any challenges in the role?
When I first started, as the only female technician, it was hard to be accepted and trusted by other people and to be taken seriously. Now I think we all make a great team and I am treated equally.
Have you any personal challenges which have impacted your work life and how have Lookers supported you with this?
I’ve recently been diagnosed with endometriosis, which is incurable and can affect my day to day fitness and ability to work to my full potential sometimes. Lookers have been really understanding and helpful with this and understood I sometimes may be off ill. Occupational health are also involved as it is an ongoing issue.
Do you think there are equal opportunities for men and women at Lookers?
I am yet to see equal opportunities at Lookers as yes we have a female sales person and myself in the workshop but I am yet to see a woman in a higher job role such as management.
If you had a daughter and she was to join Lookers, what advice would you give her?
If I had a daughter I’d tell her to keep working hard and don’t let anyone tell her she can’t do something. When I was younger I was told I couldn’t do this job as it’s a male job. I would make sure she stayed driven and not let the fact she’s the only female discourage her.
The theme for this year IWD is “Balance for Better”. How do you think we could address a better gender balance across the workplace, not just at Lookers, but also in a wider context?
I think to get a better gender balance it should start in school. When I was in school the boys were offered engineering and the girls got child care. You need to be given equal opportunities from a young age so young girls don’t find it hard to jump into a male based job as I did.
To find out more about working at Lookers and browse some of our current vacancies, take a look at our careers page.