Olivia Kavanagh – Swain Group

Company: Swain Group

Role: Apprentice HGV Mechanic

Olivia is an Apprentice HGV mechanic, working on vehicles in the Swain Group’s fleet and on those that Swains have acquired. Olivia decided after she completed my GCSEs that she wanted to do an apprenticeship, as she wanted to do something practical, and so applied for the apprenticeship with GCSE grades and an interest in the sector. To come into this role, Olivia believes you should have an aptitude and passion for practical work and notes that she came into this job with no prior vehicle knowledge, but everything you need to know is taught on the apprenticeship.

Olivia enjoys the process of fixing what’s broken and seeing it able to function again afterwards. She also likes the hands on work – and the earning whilst you learn! – that an apprenticeship offers. Olivia’s day is varied, often starting with tidying the workshop, so it is safe for everyone to be working in. After this, she is often paired with a qualified technician to assist and learn. The jobs Olivia gets to work on changes as trailer and tractor units are all varieties come into the workshop. For diagnostics, there are tablets that use software to read and investigate fault codes on vehicles. For jobs such as changing brakes, regular hand tools and air tools are used.

It is the diagnostics element that Olivia likes best about her role, as those jobs require a lot of thinking! Olivia says:

“A lot of the jobs we do, many people wouldn’t feel comfortable doing to a car by themselves let alone on a truck. If parts aren’t fitted correctly, many things can go wrong so therefore a good understanding of vehicle systems is needed to repair a vehicle and make it safe to be on the road again.”

In the future, Olivia hopes to progress even further, learning the new systems that are introduced to HGVs. Olivia is also a passionate advocate of both apprenticeships and the sector being welcoming to women and urges people to consider becoming a mechanic:

My advice would be if it’s something you have an interest in, and can see yourself happy with, find a way. Find out what’s needed and apply. It’s a great industry with so many amazing people that you’ll get to know.