Chantelle Goodman is a transport training instructor at GTG, Arnold Clark’s training division, where she’s based in Glasgow. She served five years with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers before working in a number of civilian jobs, including a senior project worker role, a marine engineer and using her mechanical and driving skills at a removals firm and agricultural company. She progressed to driving heavy goods vehicles nationwide, before taking up her current position at GTG.
“…If someone is interested in mechanics, but has no interest in getting dirty or oily, I’d recommend an alternative career choice, but getting oily and dirty in your day job doesn’t mean you can’t have your nails done or get glammed up for a night out…”
Chantelle, please can you tell us about your career to date and what made you want to work in transport and automotive?
I’ve always been interested in mechanics. My time in the army developed this passion and when I left I decided to pursue other aspects of it. This eventually led me to Class 1 Driving alongside being a mechanic in between different roles, in a variety of areas. (Listed above.)
I was involved in aspects of driver training, assessing and teaching through different points in my career and came to the decision that helping people reach their goals and pass on what I have learnt was something I was very much interested in. This in turn led me to apply for a position within the GTG team.
What does your role at GTG involve on a day-to-day basis?
On a daily basis I’m involved in most aspects of the driver training we provide. From starting a course with new trainees to seeing them through to their respective tests (Class 2 LGV, Class 1 LGV, Category B+E and Category C1), it can range from three-day courses through to ten.
I also deliver training for drivers who want to successfully pass their Module 4 section of their LGV licence. Recently I have been completing training and delivering DCPC (Driver Certificate of Professional Competence) modules to new and experienced drivers as a part of their compulsory DCPC module training.
You’ve got extremely varied career experience. How is civilian life different to the army?
In the army you are part of a family, with discipline, clear rules and boundaries and orders to follow. In ‘civvy street’ you are essentially on your own. It’s difficult to describe. The team and ‘family’ you’re used to having by your side come rain or shine, hell or high water is no longer right next door. It’s every man, or woman for themselves in civvy street.
In GTG there is a sense of belonging, a fantastic team to work with and a wealth of knowledge to soak up from all the different levels of experience within the Transport Department.
You’ve always worked in male dominated fields. In your opinion, are things getting any easier for women in these areas?
In my personal opinion, it isn’t ‘difficult’ for women in these areas. It’s the stigma attached to these areas that makes it so. If you walk into a potential place of work, you demonstrate your abilities and hope an employer will take you on. Women give other women a bad name by not standing up for what they believe in and supporting each other in their dreams and goals.
Anyone is capable of working in a ‘male-dominated environment’ and winning. All that is required is having your wits about you, believing in yourself and your abilities, and not succumbing to playground banter.
Is fixing vehicles still a dirty job?
My experience is with large heavy diesel vehicles. Although these are becoming increasingly ECU (engine control unit) managed, there are still mechanical components. Being a mechanic is not a clean job. Yes, you can remain clean while plugging in the laptop, but that is about it.
If someone is interested in mechanics, but has no interest in getting dirty or oily, I’d recommend an alternative career choice, but getting oily and dirty in your day job doesn’t mean you can’t have your nails done or get glammed up for a night out. It just means your day job sets you apart from the rest.
What sort of people are you training and what is the most rewarding part?
On a daily basis we train a range of different individuals from people wanting to re-train or get back into work, to people put forward by their companies to take on new roles. Some are funded by the Government under different schemes and some have saved every spare penny to put forward to their training.
The most rewarding part, for me, is seeing my trainees’ faces once they pass their tests and are going on to new chapters of their lives.
What is the best advice you received at the start of your career?
My mum always told me: “Don’t let the b*****ds grind you down”. I have a close-knit family that have always encouraged me and driven me to succeed. I was always taught to fight for what I believe in and to believe in me.
What is coming up next for you, GTG and Arnold Clark?
I plan to continue to train and succeed in delivering different aspects of training and strive to better my own skill set and knowledge base while working with GTG. I believe that GTG and Arnold Clark will continue to flourish and grow under their respective management. Hopefully I will be an integral part of this.