Cars Kidderminster, part of the SMART bodyshop solutions group, seized an opportunity to attract and engage new young talent into   the industry recently and the results were fantastic.

Meet Ollie! His dad is a friend of Jim Thomas, Director of Smart Bodyshop solutions and he needed some work completing on the BMW below, so instead of giving a repair cost it occurred to Jim that Ollie was still undecided on which career path to take (Year 11) and offered up a proposal to his dad….

The next week Ollie started for a week’s work experience and part of this proposal was to repair his dad’s car.

Ollie started by washing and cleaning the vehicle, before marking up the areas which needed estimating. Taking images of the damaged areas and collating them, Ollie was then taken through preparing the estimate, choosing the panels and repair times until the estimate was completed and calculated. He was then shown how the estimate was prepared into a job pack which the team could view through the management system.

Keiran, a Level 3 technician guided Ollie through the stripping process and began the repair and paint preparation process. At the end of Ollie’s first day, the car was ready for Primer, which Ollie donning his Personal Protective Equipment watched.

On the second day, Ollie masked and prepared the vehicle ready for application of paint. He observed the paint mixing process and supported the team getting it ready for application. Once painted and cured, Ollie then helped with the refit process. His parents were contacted after the final polish and clean and the vehicle was given back to them with a very proud Ollie looking on.

Following his 2 days with Cars Kidderminster, Ollie has expressed that he would like to explore a career in the body repair sector and we’re speaking with his school to see how we can facilitate this. All the team at Kidderminster were impressed with Ollie and commented on what a great young man he is. They hope to welcome him into their team in the not-too-distant future.

School of Thought commented 

What a great initiative. It’s fantastic for young people to get “hands on” experience and to see how exciting and diverse our Industry is, and we want to encourage more of this working alongside with educational partners. We have recently connected a 14-year-old young man who wants to get into vehicle sales. We have arranged a visit to a Dealership accompanied by his Parents. If he still wishes to pursue this career, we will work with his teachers to get a formal work experience placement sorted for him to begin his career journey.

School of Thought is a programme available to all NBRA members to help in the search for new young talent whether that’s Spanners and Sprayguns to all the support roles in the business.

If you are considering work experience, make sure you have the relevant risk assessments, insurance and safeguarding in place. Young people under the minimum school leaving age (MSLA) are classed as Children according to the law and require more protection due to their lack of experience, knowledge, maturity and physical strength and capabilities. You can find more information on the HSE website (link below)

Young people at work and the law (

If you have any questions about the requirements of working with young people or if you want to do something similar, then contact us for more information or