For International Women’s Day we wanted to shine a light on CAE FIMI technical author and owner/operator of award-winning garage Avia Autos, Hayley Pells.
Hayley Pells is a Fellow of the IMI, with engineering accreditation, who completed her Masters in Science at Cardiff Metropolitan University. As a public speaker, she has often been seen on the BBC and ITV, representing the automotive sector. Her speaking career also sees her working with Business Wales, inspiring those in Further Education. Widely respected for her insights into future proofing the industry, Hayley is regularly published in several of the automotive sector’s leading publications. And, as if that wasn’t enough, she also lectures, writes bespoke courses and sits on the Sector Advisory Group for EV & Hybrid qualifications with the IMI, the Skills Sector Council to the government for the automotive industry.
There’s no doubt that Hayley is an all-round inspirational woman, so in honour of #IWD2021 we wanted to find out more and share some of her insights…
My interest started from a young age, my dad was racing and I would attempt to sell spark plugs out the back of his van, it didn’t faze me that he might need them and that they weren’t for sale! I was about 4 or 5. I have always had motorbikes, once I joined the RAF I had a kit car, then classic cars which I tinkered with. Upon leaving the military, my father and I decided to open a workshop together, which I now operate on my own.
What makes you so passionate about your career?
It is a diverse and interesting sector, it offers huge opportunity for many different roles. I have always enjoyed the sense of camaraderie I have experienced in the industry and the constantly emerging challenges as new technology presents itself.
What message do you want to share with the next generation of mechanics?
There are certainly easier jobs out there! This is a sector that has a high demand for skill and knowledge, so much of it you can self-teach and it is a great environment if you are motivated to learn. There is huge opportunity for your career to progress at the speed that you want it to.
We need people! There is a huge skill shortage within the industry, and we need the best minds to help maintain and repair modern vehicles. A diverse workforce will mean lots of people who think differently to each other, and that is what we need to find solutions to complex problems, not everyone thinking in the same way.
What is your biggest career achievement?
Receiving my medal for Iraq from HRH Prince Charles and the Patron’s Award from HRH Prince Michael of Kent. Prince Charles is hugely supportive of small business, particularly young people, I had left the military when I was awarded my campaign medal and it was an interesting conversation about my new life as a War Veteran. Prince Michael has been a stalwart supporter of the motor industry for decades, President of the IMI since 1978, he now serves as Patron and is an acknowledged motoring enthusiast who understands our industry.
What do you want to say to the women in this trade?
We have a legacy of a male dominated industry that is not truly indicative of the attitudes of the majority who operate in it. There are many highly capable people within the sector and you can be one of them.