Meet Samantha, Motor Engineer
March 7, 2024

This International Women’s Day, we’re shining a light on women that do traditionally male-dominated roles to find out about their career stories and hopefully inspire other women interested in taking the same path.

We caught up with Samantha Perkins, one of our Activate Group engineers. The engineering team validate all our repair estimates, working on our customers’ behalf to manage costs, support sustainability targets, promote safety initiatives and drive down repair times.

What team do you work on, and what is the team focus/current goals?

I work on the sopp+sopp engineering team, supporting our fleet customers, and in particular my role is to look after Centrica.

Our team focus is to ensure the smooth running of customer accounts, streamlining the process to enhance productivity. We also work hard to retain and build strong relationships with the claims team and the clients.

I work with and mentor Shazad, who is currently completing an engineering apprenticeship. I like to share my engineering knowledge and enjoy helping others to develop their technical ability and confidence.

What does your day-to-day typically look like in the engineering team at Activate Group?

Initially I like to touch base with Shazad and agree a plan of action together to see how we can get the best results for that day. We review and identify what is a priority first and then set out to action the work.
During the day we stay in contact, I offer systems or Engineering advice, and in return Shazad supports me with his extensive claims experience – it’s a great balance.

We review repair estimates to make sure they meet the highest repair standards and are in line with the requirements of our fleet customers. We also look at cases where a vehicle is a potential write-off, offering our expert opinion.

Perkins haulage, Samantha’s family business

What inspired you to pursue this career?

A love and passion for anything mechanical or technical. My family ran a haulage business for 30 years, and I naturally followed in this field.

Having sourced and repaired my own cars and motorcycles for years, I decided to turn my passion into a career. I worked my way through the insurance industry to where I wanted to be within engineering – now I can help repair vehicles without getting my hands oily, it’s great!

How do you see your career developing in the future at Activate Group?

I enjoy being part of Activate Group. We have great managers who always help and listen, and requests for development are well-supported.

There’s an open-door policy to discuss a change in role or team, and I hope to see a great future, building on our strong foundations with repairers, clients, and suppliers. I also really enjoy connecting with other teams in the business, ensuring they can contact an engineer for help or advice if they need to.

What’s a challenge you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it?

Challenges, not many. For a female in Engineering the proof had to be in the pudding, and when I first started engineering years ago it may have taken longer to gain trust or respect for my skills and experience.

I overcame those situations by not responding – rising above it and letting time show my abilities. Working with pride will always win over anyone that doubts you.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I really enjoy working with and looking after repairers, creating good relationships and being a point of contact they can reach out to for assistance. I also value being part of a good team with fellow engineers, it’s an important part of my day.

When it comes to the role itself, I love the technical aspect – investigating, problem solving and understanding the complications that different vehicles can have. With ever changing vehicle technology we’re always learning and picking up new information to use ourselves and share with others. I’ve particularly enjoyed the training I’ve done at Thatcham Research for this reason!

What’s your proudest career achievement?

Joining the insurance industry and being an engineer makes me feel proud. I was late coming into a professional insurance role at 29. I started out with Hastings Direct in sales and retentions. When a trainee engineer role became available, I presented my portfolio and ignited my engineer career!

My journey, personal growth and connections within the industry have to be my biggest achievement and I feel I’ve gone further than I ever expected when I first took a job in insurance.

What advice would you give to people (and especially women) wanting to enter this field?

I have already encouraged some ladies who currently work in the industry in administrative roles to consider becoming a Vehicle Damage Assessor (VDA). My advice is literally to learn from the ground up. Be part of everything and ask questions, talk to, and learn from the skilled people around you.

There are no boundaries to pursuing what you love or want to achieve, and you will be welcomed warm-heartedly to the profession regardless of your gender or background. Come forward and be part of a great future!

Ready for more inspiring career stories? Meet Rhiannon – Apprentice MET Technician

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