Job Title: MOT Inspector & Motor Vehicle Technician
Employer: Appleton Engineering
I went to Farlingaye School which was a fantastic experience. Art was my favourite subject and I spent a lot of my time in the Art Department – I used to run the after school art club with the art teacher. Outside school I’d always been involved in motor racing because my dad was into ‘all things racing’. I was a Go Karter from the age of 8 and as I got older I moved into car racing – I now race a Mark 2 Golf GTI at events all over the country. I enjoyed school and got good GCSEs and A Levels which made me think about going to university to study for a motor vehicle course. However, the colleges that did these degrees were a long way away and were very expensive. I had a re-think and started work in the garage where I’d had a weekend and holiday job.
The garage owner rang up Suffolk New College and sorted it for me about two months after I’d started work.
I got accepted by the college and that was it.
Because I was already working, my first day was like a lot of days that had gone before, it’s just that I became an employee who was earning and learning. I got a lot of dull jobs to start with and in the early days I watched other people but gradually got to do what they did.
£3.50 an hour when I started.
In the end I had 3 placements during the course of my apprenticeship:
Placement One: This was a specialist garage and I started at the bottom and did a lot of tedious jobs to start with but eventually I learnt to strip down engines and rebuild them.
Placement Two: This garage dealt with all sorts of cars which gave me the opportunity to learn about a whole range of vehicles.
Placement Three: This garage only worked on Citroens – you need small hands to work on these cars!
Near the end of my final placement, Suffolk New College offered me a temporary job as a Motor Vehicle Technician. This gave me the motivation to finish my NVQ Level 3 very quickly so I could take up the college post.
The apprenticeship enabled me to work and learn at the same time. I couldn’t help but notice the difference between young people who were taking straight college courses in vehicle maintenance and the apprentices who were learning about vehicles in the work place. By the time I got my NVQ Level 2 I was employable because I was qualified and had a lot of experience.
Suffolk New College gave me loads of support. They gave me advice, sorted out an excellent development plan and spent time with me, especially in the second year when I was working towards my NVQ Level 2. I am a woman working in an all male environment and although I am very used to that, some of the garages I have worked in are not – and occasionally I have needed someone to talk to and the person I could always turn to was my college assessor.
NVQ Level 1, 2, 3 in Motor Vehicle Mechanics. In my 2nd year I was Apprentice of the Year.
3 years and the best part was the 2nd year because I really enjoyed the NVQ Level 2 work and I was the first to complete it in my year.
As you will see above, just completing my apprenticeship involved 4 employers. When my temporary job at the college as a Motor Vehicle Technician came to an end, I decided not to apply for the permanent post but to get more experience out in the garage business and I got a job at Appleton Engineering which is a family engineering business.
I would like to develop my car racing career if I’m honest – I need sponsorship for this and am getting a website done to promote myself better. I am also interested in teaching what I know and much longer term, think I may end up being a lecturer which will combine my technical knowledge with my love of people.