Looking back at her school reports it’s clear that Becky Cole was an excellent all-rounder. Good at languages, a possible vet she thought and someone who clearly excelled in Resistant Materials.
Moving on to her A Levels at Brighton Hove & Sussex Sixth Form College BHASVIC, it soon became apparent that a full on academic syllabus including Biology, Chemistry, Maths and German was not taking her where she wanted to go. Instead Becky decided to concentrate on her natural abilities when it came to working with wood, plastics and metal materials coupled with her impressive Math results at AS level.
At which stage lady luck intervened to suggest a new career direction for Becky…
Whilst Becky’s father is an engineer and they both ride motorbikes it was only after a family friend took on a garage in Patcham and suggested she worked there that she seriously considered applying her skills and talent within the motor industry. She became his first apprentice and whilst learning about car servicing, mechanical repairs and diagnostic challenges she took her Motor Vehicle Maintenance Levels 1 & 2.
Discovering she had yet to exhaust her automotive engineering curiosity Becky then signed up for a two year Foundation Degree in Motorsport Engineering at Northbrook College in Shoreham by Sea. She’ll complete this in 2015, either as a BSc (a more practical syllabus) or a BEng (a more mathematical programme) in Motorsport, depending on her final year’s choice.
For two days a week Becky now works at Partridge Green Motorsports helping the business run, repair and race Caterham cars. She particularly loves the trackdays and relishes the design implications, engine testing and data analysis that every race and testing session seems to bring.
She hopes to stay in the motor racing industry and offers these words of encouragement to young women who might be considering a career in the motor industry in future.
‘Don’t rule out a career in the motor industry simply because you think it’s a man’s world. The opportunities are there as much for women as for men. I’ve loved working in garages and in motorsport so far. Yes you have to put up with male banter but the guys I have met have genuine respect for females who do a good job alongside them. And for those who want to take their passion further, that may well be what motorsports can offer those lucky enough to make the grade.’
Like Ellen Karmios at Northbrook College, Becky is also a STEM Ambassador volunteering to talk to pupils about science and engineering subjects in local schools in West Sussex. She’d like to see more schools relaxing their academic focus when it’s obvious that students prefer a more practical and hands on learning experience. In this instance she’d want to recommend they find out about apprenticeships and IMI accredited courses so, like her, they can enjoy working on the latest cars whilst learning about the latest automotive technology.