SMITHSTOWN Auto Repairs in Shannon are encouraging females to apply for the position of apprentice mechanic.
Speaking to The Clare Echo, director Ian Bolger insisted the lack of working female mechanics was a loss to the industry and he hopes to actively buck that trend.
Smithstown Autos have a thriving trade and Ian says that the addition of a young apprentice will lend well to his company’s focus on modern high-end cars which require electrical work. In his yard it’s not unusual to see a Lamborghini, Porsche and Range Rovers.
“If you hand an 18 or 19-year old; anything electrical, they can understand it lot easier than an older fella can,” Ian begins, before going into his reasoning behind encouraging prospective female apprentices to apply.
While he firstly believes a female would be positive for the working environment, it would also be of benefit to his female customers.
“I’m trying to bring a girl in for the women customers, someone they can relate to. Because what I find is – and a customer actually said this to me – ‘if I had a girl there, I would feel a lot more comfortable’. A lot of
women are under the impression that if they go to garages they’ll get taken advantage of pricewise. It’s a very common thing that’s put to me but I don’t think that’s the case.”
Like many trades which are strongly associated as male jobs, Ian says there is a gaping lack of women in the car industry.
“I know of one female mechanic in the BMW dealer in Athlone. There was one girl in the NCT Centre in Limerick. They’re the only two I’ve heard of.
“Even when you see a woman bus driver, you say ‘oh look, there’s a woman bus driver!’ but you would never think that of a fella.
It’s all trades that women need to get into and I think it would even make work more of a laugh.”
Ian adds that being a qualified mechanic is a great job which also presents unique opportunities for young people hoping to travel.
“Any trade is a good background. Especially if you want to travel to Australia, America, you can find a job – that’s what I found when I travelled,” says Ian, who set up the company in 2001.
It takes four years to complete the apprenticeship once all tests are passed but the most difficult part for many women could be arriving in a male-dominated environment.
However Ian disputes this. “I wouldn’t like to think that because it comes down to personality.
I think any girl that’s going into a trade will probably have the personality or the interest in it anyway. If they have the interest in the industry they’re not too bothered once everybody gets along. I’d like to think like that.
Any females who want to enquire about an apprenticeship can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Males are also welcome to apply.