In 2012 Cartwright introduced one of the most ambitious apprenticeship programmes within the commercial vehicle industry. The scheme has been so successful that Cartwright has not only taken on 40 apprentices year on year, the company is committed to continuing the programme to ensure that it secures the necessary skill sets that are at the very root of the company’s success.
Lauren Maguire (19) and Chelsea Ellison (18) both had different ambitions at school – custom car enthusiast Lauren wanted to join the Army and keen footballer Chelsea tried sports coaching for a year. Changes in circumstances have found them both in the male dominated environment out on the Cartwright factory floor. It was a big step but they are loving it!
Lauren, from Sale, admitted she was “absolutely petrified” at the prospect of working in such a traditionally male-dominated environment, despite her military ambitions, but her co-workers quickly put her at ease. She explained: “They couldn’t have been nicer. There’s no signs of sexism. They let you get on with the job and if they see you struggling they will offer to help.” Lauren had already suffered two setbacks before joining Cartwright. She had shelved her original ambition to join the Army because she had asthma. Then she completed a two year car mechanics course at college to become a Level 3 technician only to discover that she was over-qualified and under-experienced for any vacancies in that field. That’s when her mum told her about the Cartwright vacancies.
Like Lauren, Chelsea also hoped to join the Army, but she didn’t have the necessary qualifications and spent a year in Southampton coaching sports before returning North to study engineering at Stockport College. It was a move which suited her perfectly and her level of dedication is without question. Indeed she is so keen on her job that she gets up at 4,30 a,m, to catch three buses from her home in Wythenshawe to work. She explained: “I didn’t perform particularly well at school and didn’t gain any qualifications. I was however good at sport and so decided to try sports coaching for a year but it wasn’t for me. It was to repetitive. I love the work I do here.”
Cartwright’s well-respected apprenticeship scheme lasts two years and the girls are studying alongside 94 male apprentices for an NVQ Level 2, with the possibility of further study. Mark Cartwright, Group Managing Director of Cartwright said: “We are impressed with all of our apprentices this year and are delighted to welcome Lauren and Chelsea as our first female apprentices. We are looking for young recruits who have energy, enthusiasm, commitment, a sound work ethic, an ability to work in a team and who enjoy practical work. In return we can offer them a thorough training and the opportunity to develop skills which they can utilise throughout their career. Engineering is a fantastic career and one which is very much part of Britain’s heritage. We very much hope that Lauren and Chelsea will be the first of many more girls coming forward to join our apprenticeship programme in the future.”