My motoring inspiration: Matt Willber
This lifelong car fan left behind a career in the leisure industry to pursue his dreams with an AA apprenticeship
What inspired you to get into the automotive industry?
I’ve always been interested in cars and bikes, and having the ability to tinker with them and repair them, as opposed to paying someone else to do it. I suppose it has something to do with me being so tight with money!
I spent 12 years in the leisure sector, but I’d reached a point where I didn’t want to go any further. I found myself reflecting on what I enjoyed doing and what I wanted to do in the future. After doing some research into the options for someone in their late 20s, I found the apprenticeship programme offered by the AA.
How did your work in the leisure industry prepare you for the automotive world?
I used to work as a lifeguard, swimming teacher and fitness instructor before later becoming a manager. In my last role, I was even responsible for opening a multi-million-pound leisure facility in Horwich, Greater Manchester.
There are actually a lot of transferrable skills when it comes to dealing with the public and handling unexpected situations.
Within a single shift, I’d often end up wearing many different hats: a manager, a confidant for an employee or a member of the public, or an emergency responder.
There was also an engineering aspect to my job because I was responsible for operating the pool pumps.
How did you end up at Every Auto?
I was due to go on a placement as part of my apprenticeship programme with the AA, and I was living less than two miles away from Every Auto. My manager arranged the interview, and I went down to the garage to see how we felt about each other.
The garage is part of the AA’s Prestige network and has a good reputation. It felt right from the first day, and I’ve not looked back since.
How does the apprenticeship programme work at the AA?
There is a stringent onboarding process to ensure candidates on placement are right for the job. We do in-house training in areas such as health and safety, compliance and so on to prepare us for what we might experience in the garage environment. As well as working at Every Auto, I’ve also been on placements with Bosch.
What are the main skills you’ve picked up?
My ability to diagnose faults has really improved. I’m also now asking why a component has failed, instead of just fixing the problem. I feel as though my confidence has really grown too. There are jobs that I would have shied away from before, but now I’m able to apply myself to those more complex tasks.
What happens when you complete your apprenticeship?
I have a year left with Every Auto and then I’ll be out on AA roadside patrols. I’m hoping for a long and successful career in the automotive industry. It’s what I love doing. It’s rare to love going to work, but that’s how I feel.
Hopefully the time and effort that I’m investing will get noticed and I’ll be able to climb the career ladder within the AA. There are options to become a team leader or a specialist in a given type or brand of vehicles. If I could get to work with exotic cars, that would definitely appeal to me.
What advice would you give someone who was thinking of getting into the industry?
The best advice I can give would be to go for it. You’re only here once, and you have to be as happy as possible. For someone who’s passionate about how a vehicle works, it’s a really rewarding job.