3M Paint Finishing application engineer and STEM Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths Ambassador, Michael Massey, made a virtual return to his former college to help students prepare for the world of work.
Michael studied for his diploma in Vehicle Accident Repair at Chesterfield College in Derbyshire and is a previous WorldSkills™ finalist for bodyshop repairs. He joined 3M Atherstone as an application engineer in 2018 and was promoted to a global role two years later.
When the college got in touch to see if Michael could help fill the gap left by Covid-19 restrictions – which meant that students studying Automotive Body and Paint Repair techniques couldn’t take part in the usual work placements, site visits and live demos – he was eager to help and agreed to run an open Q&A session online.
Says Michael: “Around 45 students from new joiners through to the more experienced NVQ Level 3 students, as well as the tutor team, joined the call. I shared my story and explained that only a few years ago I was in their shoes experiencing similar challenges.
“Once the students could see that I was one of them, they really engaged and asked questions on a number of topics. These ranged from exploring different trades and career pathways through to being work ready, apprenticeships, opportunities for females in bodyshops and autism awareness.”
The session was so popular that future events have already been planned, including a virtual job application and interview session to help the students stand out from the crowd when they apply to potential employers.
As well as being a STEM Ambassador for 3M, Michael has volunteered as a School of Thought Ambassador for the bodyshop industry, a project that is part of the Ready4Work Community Interest Company campaign.
Michael says: “It was great to represent 3M and the industry at the event, but mainly I represented myself and tried to give honest, truthful, unbiased feedback to the students.
“To get such great engagement was very rewarding and I feel excited that there is passion among young people to succeed in the automotive industry which means that we will soon have fresh, young talent joining the workforce in the UK and beyond.”