Career Development

Four steps to working at McLaren

James Scoltock | 13 Feb 2020

Four steps to working at McLaren

James Scoltock | 13 Feb 2020

In this article:

Following your dreams can be difficult sometimes, but for Holly Yeomans, it meant landing her perfect job at supercar manufacturer McLaren


It doesn’t matter what your goal is in life, the journey to succeeding can be challenging. But if you are determined enough then it doesn’t have to be impossible, Holly Yeomans is proof, as she navigated her way through high school, college and university to land her dream job at McLaren as a Powertrain Project Engineer. Her story may be similar to what you’re going through.

Secondary school decisions

“In my early teens my interests were like night and day compared to other girls my age; I was more interested in standing in hedges at midnight watching the local elite rally drivers coming sideways through the muddy tracks of South Wales. Followed by a post event analysis with the boys at my secondary school, Ysgol-y-Gwendraeth.

“My passion came from my family, my older brother was always watching Top Gear and Formula 1 on television, so I always had a niggling thought about joining an F1 team. But the thought of doing it was soon offset by the stigma surrounding girls/women in motorsport, so instead I chose physiotherapy, I was an active teen after all, doing athletics for Carmarthen harriers, playing netball and even rugby occasionally. But it didn’t last.

“I went running back to my career advisor saying I wanted to do engineering. It was clear they thought this was a spur of the moment change and kept asking if I was sure. I was positive.”

The race starts at Pibwrlwyd college

“The journey for me started here. I enrolled onto the National Diploma in Automotive Engineering, a two-year course. I was completely alone, I had no school friends with me, this was a journey I had to do alone. My first day was exciting, nerve wracking and terrifying.

“Young boys talking about their cars, tinkering with them with their dad’s. I didn’t have any mechanical experience with cars, and worried if the course was for me.

“But the more the weeks passed I realised it wasn’t only about being practical, (that said, half a day a week was practical, overalls and steel toecaps on and into the workshop, anything from changing an alternator on a Proton to removing a gearbox on a Ford Transit), it was also about being able to solve problems methodically, logically; something I was good at.

“But it was a turning point in my career, it reinforced that I was going to make it and succeed.

Warming up at university

“And here we go again, three years of full-time education, two jobs, studying for a BSc in Motorsport Engineering at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

“One thing I will always remember is my summer placement. I was so busy I’d left it to the last minute and ended up at a company which fabricated power steering units for historic vehicles, mainly Mk1 and Mk2 Ford Escorts. But I learnt some practical skills including welding, which I actually really enjoyed, and even found therapeutic.

“I heard one student had a summer placement at McLaren, which blew me away, I could only have dreamt about walking into a company like that. Little did I know.

On track for success

“I dished my CV out to the high-end automotive brands dotted around West England. In the interim, I worked as a Sales Executive selling cars at a dealership. Some customers were shocked at the level of my knowledge but it meant they were confident in my ability, but they’d also ask what I was doing here. Not that I was here for long.

“On a sunny summer Saturday, skipping out of work ready to go home when I receive a phone call from a recruiter at McLaren. I thought it was a joke, but it wasn’t and I’m now a Powertrain Project Engineer at McLaren’s magnificent headquarters hidden away in Surrey countryside.

“I’ve been part of the company for 18 months and am working on a brand-new project as part of the firm’s exciting Track25 programme - McLaren’s roadmap for future vehicles, production and technology.

“Every day I walk into work, around the famous boulevard, past iconic passenger vehicles and F1 cars raced by the likes of Senna, Lauda, Hakkinen, Button, Alonso and Hamilton, and feel grateful. If I can do it, so can you.”

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