Diversity ambassador Dani is giving young women an opportunity to become vehicle technicians.

In April, before Covid-19 caused the cancellation of all large public gatherings, Vehicle Inspection and Training Services (VIATS) owner Dani Rathke was preparing to speak at the Commercial Vehicle Show 2020.

Dani was planning to address the audience at the NEC in Birmingham about how she overcame the challenges faced by a woman in the road transport industry, started her own business and became a role model to other young women.

After her appearance at the Women in Engineering event held last year which was hosted by Cathy Newman (see issue 8), Dani is now a diversity ambassador for the Society, dedicated to improving the profile of engineering and the automotive sector.

Dani was due to appear on the Commercial Vehicle Workshop stage in Birmingham to talk about her experiences, as she did in London last year. Setting up her vehicle maintenance training business as a woman has encouraged other women into the industry, and Dani believes this approach will help fill the engineering skills gap.

Dani said: “I think it does create a slightly different atmosphere that perhaps makes it more comfortable for young women. The automotive sector does still carry an image that can be unappealing to young women, so we have tried to make it more accessible by offering sessions just for women.”

Before lockdown, VIATS was supplying a steady stream of irtec qualified technicians to operators, either from its purpose-built facility in Redditch, or by visiting operator premises. VIATS is also certified to conduct Workshop Accreditation audits.

VIATS is one of several providers that is starting to take bookings again for irtec and Workshop Accreditation after safety measures were put in place to protect assessors and technicians.

“We have always conducted our irtec assessments on a one on-one basis, so we can do them now. We have put measures in place with the necessary social distancing and we have protective masks, gloves and sanitation products,” said Dani.

MOT Tester and Manager courses are available as part of a range of courses from VIATS’ training centre in Redditch, and VIATS is also involved with the MechaniX scheme, which teaches young people vehicle maintenance and gives them a recognised qualification. The project challenges a group of young people to restore old vehicles in disrepair, building their skills and providing a stepping-stone to an apprenticeship or work placement. For more information on VIATS, go to: viats.com