Here at Shona, we are all about representing girls, women, and non-binary people from all backgrounds, but we especially love when we get to meet someone who is stepping outside of what the world considers “the norm”.
So today we would like to introduce you to Caroline! Caroline is a HGV Technician who completed her apprenticeship at the end of 2021. Her job gives her so much experience working with a wide range of vehicles, but we’ll leave her fill you in. So, have a gander at our chat …
Caroline, you work as an HGV Technician, tell us what your working day looks like.
The beautiful thing about being a mechanic is that no two days are exactly the same, I could start and finish my day doing complete opposites like working on a 7.5 tonne box body and finishing working on a VW Caddy, some jobs require me to start one afternoon and finish the next morning. Working on heavy vehicles comes with its challenges but that is something I love the most about it.
Did you always want to work as a technician for vehicles or where did the passion start?
Growing up I always knew that I wanted a job working with my hands, I grew up around horses and always hated the thought of sitting in an office day in and day out, however, I knew I didn’t want to work with horses long term. I think it was around the age of 13 or 14 that I told my dad I wanted to become a mechanic. My dad ran his own business and at the time he owned a small fleet of lorries and other plant machinery. I used to spend the weekends at his yard and I always remember asking his mechanic what he was doing when working on things. I was fascinated by the “how things work” aspect.
Caroline, we met you through Women In Wheels, a support network for women working in the automotive, transport, and logistics industries. Could you tell us a little bit about how important this support network is for you?
Having this support network is great, not only is it a way for like-minded females to meet but it has been a great way to chat with more experienced women in the industry and learn from the troubles that they have faced during their careers and how they dealt with it while still maintaining professional relationships with their colleagues.
Your industry is very much male-dominated. Does this bring any challenges or benefits for you?
As a general rule, I have got along with men better than women, with less drama and all that! I never really fit in as a conventional girly girl. I have been very lucky in the company I completed my apprenticeship with and still work for now. The guys are all great and helpful and although there has been the odd comment that maybe pushes a boundary line, we are all people and when a line was crossed they would be pulled on it which put it to a stop. I have been very lucky with my journeyman, he never treated me differently for being a woman and was under the impression that if I was there to work, I was going to be put to work and there was no reason for me to not be able to do something that the other boys could. I wouldn’t say that it brings about any particular challenges but I would say that in the back of my mind I feel like I have to push myself to prove that I belong there.
What tips would you have for a young Shona reader who wants to follow a career as a vehicle technician? Where do they start?
If this is something that you want to do, then do it. Find yourself a good apprenticeship scheme and do it. I let people around me put me off and I tried to go down the route of university where I studied aerospace engineering because I was told it would be the better career path to go down, but I dropped out after two years and went straight into my apprenticeship and haven’t looked back since. Ensuring that you do your research on the right workplace and educational institute is helpful as they will be your biggest support network while developing in your apprenticeship.
- Favourite Hobby? Reading and walking my dogs. I can get lost in a good book and I love going on adventures with three German shepherds.
- Favourite Quote? “It always seems impossible until it’s done” Nelson Mandela
- Favourite song? Disturbed’s cover of “The sound of silence”
- Favourite person ever? Is it bad to say that there are days I would pick my pets over people? I don’t have one favourite person, the people in my life each have their own qualities that make them important to me.
We just wanted to say a massive thank you to Caroline for her time and for sharing her experience! It’s pretty deadly having the opportunity to learn about all the potential careers that are out there!