Real Voices: Lindsey Mitchell

Embrace the challenge

Since my teens I’ve had an interest in motorbikes and by learning to maintain my own, I found I wanted to pursue it as a career. I found opportunities and vacancies to be limited where I lived for this, so I took up an automotive apprenticeship and worked on light vehicles instead. I spent my teens and early twenties working in a number of workshops, with a wide range of vehicle types including, finally, motorbikes. I even found myself in an all-female garage for a year where I met one of my oldest and very best friends. The challenges of family life have gotten in the way but we did until recently still take out motorbikes and ride off on adventures!

My career took a different path later on, thanks to an old lecturer of mine reaching out. I was offered the opportunity to help deliver practical training to apprentices and from there I swapped the workshop for the classroom, working my way up from lecturer, to senior lecturer delivering training to a wide range of learners and apprentices. It was during this time that I first learnt about the IMI and its qualifications.

After 7 years delivering training, I was ready to try something new and embarked on a new career path by joining the IMI as a member of the Sector Skills Council developing national occupational standards for the whole sector.

Over time, I transitioned into a role in the product development team, where I worked diligently and gained valuable experience. I’ve been responsible for developing many key products for the IMI and I eventually had the privilege of leading the product development and eLearning teams. Through continued dedication and growth, I’ve now reached a senior leadership position at the IMI overseeing the operations of the department that contains the product development, eLearning, external quality assurance and regulatory compliance teams.

My journey from the workshop to my current role at IMI is a testament to the opportunities and growth that can be achieved by embracing change and seizing the chances that come your way. I’ve met some incredible people, some of whom are still very close friends to this day.

I think I’ll always be an educator at heart and take so much joy from guiding and teaching others. This role offers me constant opportunities to work with teams and individuals to continue to grow their own skills sets in all roles from technical development, customer service and management.

I’m also enjoying the journey into senior leadership and the opportunities it gives with understanding business operations and strategy.

I take immense pride in being able to influence and contribute to the pivotal role that the IMI plays in supporting and advancing the sector.

I brought several transferable skills from my previous job roles. My interpersonal skills have been invaluable. In my previous roles in the workshops and training, I improved my ability to work with people who would come to me with their needs, building trust and fostering positive relationships. This has helped me build the trust and understanding that are crucial when leading and working with people. My ability to problem solve and think logically through issues, much like diagnosing faults with vehicles, has given me a solid skill set that I rely on daily.

One of the most common misconceptions is that the sector primarily consists of mechanics or hands-on workers. In reality, the sector encompasses a wide range of professions, including engineers, designers, IT specialists, and business professionals.

Many people also hold outdated views of the sector, thinking it’s stuck in the past and resistant to change. In fact, the sector is at the forefront of technological advancements, with opportunities for innovation and growth.

Finally, there’s a mistaken belief that working in the sector is a last resort for those without advanced education or skills. In reality, the sector offers numerous high-skilled, high-paying positions that require specialised training, skills and education.

If someone is thinking about a sector change and considering a career in the automotive industry, my advice would be to embrace the challenge.

This sector has so many possibilities and exciting roles. Exploring these can lead to a fulfilling and dynamic career, making it an exciting choice for those looking for new opportunities.

Lindsey’s words of wisdom

“This sector has so many possibilities and exciting roles. Exploring these can lead to a fulfilling and dynamic career, making it an exciting choice for those looking for new opportunities.”