Finding and training your future stars

Why starting with a growing business can lead to great opportunities

‘I got my first job here through Starting Off X amount of years ago’. A phrase I have heard again and again over the years when visiting clients across Northamptonshire. Nicky’s story at InTown Automotive stands out, as her development is in direct correlation to the growth of the business she was placed in.

Nicky came to Starting Off as a graduate back in 2008. She had just finished a degree in German with European Studies and was keen to find a role where she could utilise her language skills. Nicky registered with the division of Starting Off that helps graduates find trainee positions. At the time, InTown Automotive were based in Blisworth and had 6 staff members. They specialised in selling car parts online internationally. Nicky said that initially she was sceptical because it was a small company and she thought she needed to be working at large corporate firm if she wanted the job progression she desired. But she liked the people and the job was ideal – a role selling car parts to the German market.

Nicky soon found her duties diversifying and in 2011 was promoted to Sales Manager. At the same time the company had an opportunity to move to larger premises in Far Cotton where they had bigger office space, but also a unit that could be used as a workshop for car maintenance and repairs. InTown Automotive was born and quickly two more units were acquired. They became a well-established local automotive repair centre offering Servicing, MOTs, Tyres, Cambelt Replacements and more. The synergy between the two departments was perfect. Working to the core values of honesty and integrity and a key focus on customer service, the garage now see around 1000 cars a month through the workshop. Nicky’s role had also grown to become involved in accounts, sales and customer service. The company directors had seen the success of taking on staff at trainee level through Nicky and another apprentice from Starting Off in Customer Services and started to embrace this in the automotive side of the business. They currently employ two apprentices under the Bosch training scheme who are proving very successful.

Whilst the company continued to steadily grow, the directors realised they were lacking a Garage Management System that could effectively bring together all the functions essential for their products and services. With the help of an inhouse technical IT whizz, a system was developed that met all their needs. This one stop software solution manages data, invoices, productivity, scheduling- all the process’s required for the business. It soon became apparent that this wasn’t just a useful tool internally but something that other garages across the UK, including BOSCH could benefit from and so the product went to market – in 2016 TechMan was officially established. Nicky is now also working with this team to develop the product and customer base further and has taken on the role as General Manager.

From a small set up in Blisworth selling car parts to a 40 strong staff and 3 companies that work in synergy to each other, this business really demonstrates what you can achieve with the rights morals, ideas and staff members. Nicky could have gone with her instinct to pursue a large corporate firm, but she feels she wouldn’t have had the opportunity to be involved in so many areas of the business and gain the responsibility she has today if she had taken that path. Her journey along with the company’s, is something to be proud of.

Starting Off are now recruiting two apprentices in digital marketing and accountancy for the business and hope we will be back in another 11 years with similar stories of success.

InTown Automotive have won several awards for innovation and also support local community-based projects. If you are looking for a reliable and quality driven garage for business or domestic car repairs/ service or are interested in the TechMan product contact the team on 01604 666700