Ashley Beeby - WinA Member of the Month
This month we are so excited to feature Women in Automotive member, Ashley Beeby.
Ashley is a qualified heavy vehicle diesel mechanic, and is currently working at Cummins after completing her apprenticeship 7 months early through the same organisation.
Ashley recently participated in our #WomenInAutmotiveAtHome Instagram campaign, where she showed our audience through a day in her life as a Woman working in automotive through the COVID-19 pandemic.
As if that wasn't enough, Ashley is also in the process of writing a Fiction novel! Talk about inspiring!
To learn more about Ashley's work, have a look at her instagram page here.
If you would like to be featured or would like to suggest someone to feature in an upcoming WinA Member of the Month article, make sure to let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tell us a bit about your current role or involvement in the automotive industry.
Ashley: I recently completed my qualifications as a heavy vehicle diesel mechanic. I specialise in repairing and diagnosing engine issues in equipment over 4.5 tonnes. It can be a physically demanding job, but there’s a lot of new infrastructure that makes it more accessible to people of a shorter stature like myself. I work in a workshop, and I love helping the apprecntices who are at earlier stages of their studies. Its part of my responsibility as a qualified mechanic, to help mentor.
What was your first professional experience within the automotive industry?
Ashley: I found the trade by accident after signing up for a week of work experience with Cummins. The work experience was a school requirement, and I nearly pulled out of the programme when I found out what it was. But my Dad convinced me to see it through. I’m the first person in the family to go into the industry. I had never really worked on or had an interest in cars before that, but I did my work experience and found out that I loved the work!
I still had my VCE studies to complete, so as part of that I signed up for a VET class sponsored through Cummins. Once I had finished my VCE studies I began working at Cummins as an apprentice.
Do you think you have experienced challenges within the industry that your male counterparts haven’t?
Ashley: At first, people in the workshop couldn’t understand why I chose work in mechanics. But it wasn’t because I’m a woman, it was because I graduated with an ATAR in the top 5% of the state, so I certainly felt that pressure to choose an industry that is more reflective of that kind of ATAR score. In general, I think there’s more openness to the idea of women working in the industry now than there may have been previously. Cummins treated me as just another apprentice rather than a female apprentice which was a great help. My height and stature are more of a challenge for me than my gender, it just means I need to approach some work slightly differently. Being in a large organisation has shown me a lot. Cummins have been very supporting. I find people will have curiosities before they have issues, so I’m always happy to help with that.
What is your biggest achievement in auto, personal or professional?
Ashley: I’ve had a lot of exciting things happen in the last 12 months!
Trying to choose one as my ‘biggest’ achievement is really hard.
Wining the Inspirational Young Achiever of the Year Award at Tafe
was super rewarding. It was awarded for more than just how I
performed at Tafe. The award takes what I’ve done in the industry and
the work I’ve done to advocate for the industry into consideration as
well. By highlighting me as an award winner, I was able to highlight the
importance of women working in trades / auto. I wasn’t expecting to
win so it was an amazing surprise.
Do you have a favourite resource as a woman working in the
automotive industry? Maybe a book, event, organization, mentor, or
Ashley: The thing that makes it hard for me to choose something is the
fact that I’m not a ‘rev head’. In Tafe and in school I’d hear people
talking about their cars, or auto in general and it didn’t draw me in. It’s
not a massive passion for me outside of working in it. I will say that the
people I work with are great resources/ mentors. If I need to learn a
new skill or technique, I can always ask. Figuring out who you can rely
on to teach you in a way that works for you is hard, but it’s such a
valuable resource once you do figure that out. The mechanics working
above me are huge role models.
Who is your inspiration as a female in automotive?
Ashley: Another woman who came through Cummins as an apprentice, and who is now a Trainer and Writer, Louise Azzopardi. I also have a passion for writing, so watching Louise’s work is very inspiring.
Finally, what is the best piece of advice that you have received or that you could give to another woman working in the automotive industry?
Ashley: It’s important to have faith in yourself. Learning to adjust your techniques is one of your biggest strengths. Just because you might approach a skill or a task differently doesn’t make you any less capable. Women in automotive are just as capable as our male counterparts.