Hazel’s Story

Hazel Bate lives in Guiseley, Leeds and wants to be a car mechanic. She has just finished her GCSEs at school and is currently applying for apprenticeships. WEST gave Hazel £75 towards travel costs.

What did you want to be when you were a little girl?

I wanted to be a fire fighter. I’ve always been a bit of a tomboy.

What inspired you to want to be a mechanic?

My dad’s a mechanic. He used to get me to do little bits and bats for him, like pass me the ratchet, pass me that. He had a little lock-up garage so I would go down there from about the age of 10 and sit and learn as much as I could.

What do you think about working in a male-dominated job?

I worked with my dad on a Saturday, so I know you get a bit of banter, but I don’t mind, I can get on with anybody. There were a couple of girls at school who’ve gone on to do engineering, but I don’t know any others doing mechanics.

What do you like best about the job?

I like getting my hands dirty and doing hands-on work, rather than sitting behind a desk all day. I’ve done a full service and brakes on my own.

What’s your ambition?

I want to run my own company. I would try to attract female customers, because I wouldn’t exploit them. I would use easier language so they could understand things.

Advice to other girls and women?

My only advice would be don’t dress up all girly for interviews. I went to one wearing a skirt and proper shoes and I got laughed at! After that I go in jeans and trainers.

What did you think when you got your WEST bursary?

I was chuffed that it had gone through and I’d found somewhere that could help financially.