The Interview: Dave Reece

bodyshop editor Simon Wait speaks to Dave Reece, the co-founder of School of Thought, about his hopes for the future of the project and for the entire automotive industry.

Please explain the School of Thought concept and how it has evolved since being launched at the 2019 bodyshop Awards.

School of Thought was created to promote all the careers available in the automotive industry to students in schools and colleges. We carried out research and discovered that the industry was virtually invisible in the education sector and where it was known it was perceived as a dirty industry with parents not seeing a career path for their child. Our target audience was 13-to-16-year-old students, teachers, parents and career advisors. I think it’s been more of a revolution than evolution because we have developed so much since that first outing in Birmingham – 120 ambassadors, 19 STEM Hubs, Youth Employment UK, Department for Education, global video, IBISTV, and a lot more as well – and the response has been amazingly positive. I asked the question to the industry in 2019: “Are we doing the right thing and does the industry need School of Thought?” The industry said yes so we started it up.

A lot of good work has been achieved so far but what are three key milestones you are most proud of?

We set ourselves some key objectives. 1. To formalise the project and we achieved this by creating the Ready4Work Community Interest Company with School of Thought being the primary programme; 2. To connect the automotive industry with the education sector and make it visible to students, parents and teachers. We achieved this by working with Youth Employment UK and creating an automotive hub on their website which attracts 250,000 hits every month. We also developed relationships with all 19 STEM Hubs in the UK and with Careers Wales; 3. To create a video showcasing the diverse job roles in our industry. We launched the Ready4Work brand and video to our ambassadors and guests at the Nuneaton event in July.

To read more, visit bodyshop‘s September issue.