Abi’s Story

Abi Chappell is studying Motor Vehicle Maintenance and Repair at Sheffield College. She won a WEST bursary of £75 to go towards travel costs.

Why motor vehicle?

When I was little I said I wanted to be a midwife or work with animals. I was doing animal care at college when I got my Honda Civic 1995. It was an old car and it needed repairing – and I wanted to fix it! I always loved tinkering with cars anyway, so I decided to I change to Motor Vehicle at college. I really enjoy it and I learn new stuff every day.

What or who inspired you to want to work with cars?

It was my dad. He works with minibuses, and he has to fix them. I remember when I was about seven, sitting on a wheel at my old house and watching while he was changing the brakes, and I was really intrigued. I asked loads of questions and he would let me have a go.

I’m obsessed with my own Honda. I personally believe cars are incredible, every nut and bolt that has gone into them that makes them what they are. To be honest, older cars are better because they are far more easy to read. I like the way Japanese cars and built. They are very reliable, I’ve never known anyone to break down in one. My Honda is naturally aspirated and I like the shape of it.

What did you think about going into a male-dominated trade?

It didn’t bother me although it was nerve-wracking at first. The class I’m in are a decent set of lads, and they took the nervousness off me, so now it’s ok.

What are your plans and ambitions?

I want to get my level 2 and 3 in Motor Vehicle Maintenance and repair and then go on to become an MOT tester. I want to start my own business MOT testing.

Advice to other girls and women thinking of doing motor vehicle?

I’d say to do it if it’s what you want to do, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. I know that it is a masculine-type job, but realistically if it’s what you want – go for it!

What did you think when you got your WEST bursary?

I was really happy. It’s helped towards getting my Honda Civic on the road!