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Ford’s 18-year-old apprentice, Leah Catton from Nottingham, has been nominated as one of the top 100 rising female British Stars in the industry by Autocar Magazine. The industry’s top 100 rising stars will be announced on Wednesday 21 June at Twickenham Stadium where the winners will be mixing with some of the industry’s biggest hitters and will get involved in a series of panel debates, discussions and work groups.

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Leah was put forward by her proud manager Brian Hudson who has worked with her at Sandicliffe Ford of Hucknall, Nottingham for the last two years, during her apprenticeship with Ford, run by Skillnet, one of the UK’s largest providers of Apprenticeships to the automotive industry. Leah is thrilled to have been chosen.

Leah took an interest in the automotive industry at a very early age.  When she was only 9, her father would take her to watch motor racing at the weekends where she got to know some of the teams and was fortunate to have walks around the pits.

Leah said that “this is when I was hooked and decided that’s what I want to do, work on cars.”

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At 15, Leah signed up to New College Nottingham to start her training in motor vehicle repairs.  She soon after landed an apprenticeship with Sandicliffe Ford of Hucknall, Nottingham.  She currently works alongside a diagnostic technician at Sandicliffe whilst she continues her training, at which she excels. 

Leah said “I take great satisfaction in finding and fixing the problem with cars.  It was a little daunting at first, but once you get to know how things work and what they do, it gets a little easier to diagnose and fix concerns.”

Brian Hudson, Leah’s Manager at Sandicliffe, said:From the day I interviewed Leah for the job of Apprentice Technician, I knew she was special.  She has a limitless passion for cars. To get where Leah wants to be will involve more intensive training and yearly updates at the Henry Ford Academy. With Leah’s drive, enthusiasm and hunger for all things automotive, I see her as an asset to a predominantly male industry.”

Lee Acton, Chief Executive, Skillnet, said: “We are delighted that one of Skillnet’s apprentices has been chosen as the top 100 female stars in the automotive industry. We welcome women into the industry and the fact that Leah has achieved so much is testament to what women can do in a principally male dominated industry.”

In her spare time, Leah teaches children kick boxing and swimming, as well as competing herself. Both take a lot of dedication and discipline. She applies this same dedication and discipline in her job role to help her achieve her ultimate goal, which is to work in the pit lanes, working on racing cars, where it all began.

The Autocar Great British Women in the Car Industry event, run by Autocar, is in association with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and backed by Direct Line Group, Ford and Jaguar Land Rover.