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Alice LAFORGUE: “As female mechanics are rare, I had to prove that I could physically and ment

Hi dear reader !

My name is Alice LAFORGUE and I am an apprentice mechanic in a CQP TEAVA (Certificate of Professional Qualification Expert Automotive After Sales Technician) at a car dealership: SF Ferrari Cote d’Azur in Cannes. This year I am finishing an apprenticeship program at the IFA Nice. It lasted one year with a rhythm of 3 weeks in the company and 1 week of classes.

Today in this company, I am in charge of the maintenance of the customers’ cars as well as the breakdown diagnosis. The atmosphere is great, my colleagues take the time to teach me things and follow me in my difficulties. I work a lot with other professions such as salesmen, bodywork specialists and legal experts. I really enjoy fixing complex things, I find it challenging! In addition to being a great opportunity because of the prestige of the brand, working at SF Ferrari is also repairing cars equipped with cutting-edge technology.

If you think I always knew I would do this job, think again! At the beginning I didn’t know which profession to choose, but being passionate about everything that is manual, I decided to go into mechanics after my high school diploma, hoping that I would like it. I did a lot of theoretical studies at the beginning: first a DUT in mechanical engineering and production engineering at the IUT of Bordeaux. A very interesting field but not practical enough for me. So I decided to start again from scratch with a CPA1 AVM (Automotive Vehicle Maintenance). Yes, it was a daring but necessary choice and I was lucky enough to be supported by my parents. Afterwards, I needed to go further, so I started in the field of car racing and then in luxury.

I would say that the biggest challenge I faced in my journey was when I had to prove myself in the competition field. Indeed, competition is a very intense field, and female mechanics are rare, so I had to prove that I could physically and mentally keep up. I was able to show that I had something extra, unique knowledge and ways of doing things.

Being in the luxury business today has made me realize that it’s a business where there’s a lot of sympathy and support both in the shop and between garages.

During my career, I was mainly guided by personal research: internet, nearby garages, etc.

I used my motivation and my previous studies which are still useful today. Indeed, each year of study has taught me things and I get as many personal benefits as knowledge: The DUT has taught me to be rigorous, hard-working and all the theoretical bases of general mechanics; The CAP has especially been a practical learning of the basics of car mechanics; The school of performance has taught me the notion of advanced tuning of cars; The CQP shows me all the complex technology of new vehicles.

Being an auto mechanic is a job of passion! The days can seem long when you don’t like it and very short when you do! So if you like the automotive industry, go for it! There are many careers to explore. In addition, we are no longer “mechanics with dirty hands”, we really become technicians. We are constantly learning, almost as self-taught, how new technologies work. We follow very closely the digital, technological and mechanical evolutions. The particularity of the luxury car is mainly in the service expected by the customer. The luxury sector allows the customer to really personalize everything, from the service to the car. We are moving away from the more conventional brands where everything is identical: all the cars are personalized and different. These are collector’s brands where you can find very different models, from the very recent hybrid to the old one. It allows a very diversified work where we learn new things.

You will have understood, you need a good practical and theoretical basis in mechanics to do this job. I would also add that going to a good school is very useful, especially in the competition world which is very select, schools allow you to make a place for yourself.

Outside of my work, I keep busy. I mainly play horseball in a club in Bordeaux, my home town. I also ride motorcycles with friends, the landscapes of the South-East are beautiful!

I would like to finish by telling you to dare! Believe in yourself and surround yourself with people who are interested in your project and don’t stop until you feel you belong!

1Certificate of Professional Aptitude

Written by Monika T.

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