Motorsports fan lands dream career start with firm he began with at 14

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A motorsport fan has had a dream start to his career after being taken on by the firm which first recognised his potential as a work experience student aged 14.

Danny Martin, now 20, has just celebrated recruitment into a full time post with the Leigh family firm, Astley Hire whose bosses have long been impressed by his work ethic and enthusiasm to learn.

The fan of classic cars and Formula One racing, who can now proudly boast a motorsports engineering degree, says he is living proof that it’s never too early to start carving out a prospective career plan.

He said: “Looking back, I honestly believe that doing those two weeks work experience at Astley Hire while I was still at school was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

That first toe in the water six years ago reinforced his engineering ambitions when Danny approached Astley Hire as his dad, a tree surgeon, was one of the firm’s customers and often hired equipment from the company.

He said: “That’s how I first became aware of them and when I needed to do some work experience through school I asked them if they would consider me.

“I particularly chose them as I’ve always been fascinated by mechanics and learning about how things work so I thought they’d be able to teach me some engineering skills.

“Fortunately they said yes and they’ve really encouraged my progress ever since.”

Following those initial two weeks Astley Hire went on to offer Danny further work opportunities during holidays from Lowton High School and eventually they gave him a Saturday job.

Danny says he will be forever grateful to Astley Hire for supporting him through each stage of his career to date.

He said: “They saw something in me and took me under their wing and I also worked for them two days a week while I was studying for my degree.

“The practical experience and insight into the world of work really shored up my educational studies as I could see useful techniques and theories put into practice.”

Danny recently graduated from University of Central Lancashire’s Myerscough College and it was a double celebration as on gaining his degree he was also offered a full-time position by Astley Hire which has been in business for 50 years, employs 26 staff across seven divisions and is based at Jury Street in Leigh.

Danny, who lives in Pennington, is now looking forward to developing his skills as an across the board technician working across each of the company’s different departments dealing with everything from general tools to air conditioning equipment.

He is also keen for other local youngsters to replicate his success and as the annual summer holidays bgan he urged them to be proactive and seek out roles with local businesses.

He said: “There are reputable firms out there willing to help youngsters and invest time in them.

“I was lucky that Astley Hire is one of those and gave me a chance at a young age. I would advise any youngster to seek out work experience or part time shifts to give them an early foothold on the jobs ladder. It can really pay off in the long term.

“It’s not all easy. You have to start with the basics and be prepared to take on some of the less exciting jobs.

“I started washing the equipment at first. Then I slowly moved on towards repairs and maintenance, changing switches and investigating control boxes, until I was given the chance to work on some of the bigger stuff like generators.”

Astley Hire managing director Stephen Dorricott, whose parents, Cyril and Mildred, founded the firm, said Danny was a rising star of engineering.

He said: “We always strive to help young people with potential and from the moment Danny started his work experience with us it was clear he was a young man full of enthusiasm and committed to making the most of the opportunity.

“He has continued in the same vein ever since, never shying away from asking questions, or learning new tasks.”

Mr Dorricott added: “I would urge young people to make the most of any work experience opportunities which come their way.

“It can be a valuable asset, not just in adding to their education but as a real plus mark on their future CVs when they are looking for full time employment.”

Danny’s new boss, Ian Betts, Astley Hire’s cleaning division manager, said: “We are very proud of the progress Danny has made and of his success in gaining his degree.

“He has always shown real commitment to every task– his enthusiasm shines through and everyone here is extremely happy that he has now joined our team full time.”

Danny is not the first engineer in his family. He said: “My grandad – dad’s dad – was a chartered mechanical engineer who worked in the nuclear industry, though he died when I was much younger.”

His dad, Peter, is a qualified arboriculturist and his mum, Sharon is an occupational therapist working to help rehabilitate people who have suffered from strokes while younger sister Abigail has just got a job with restaurant chain Five Guys.

When not working Danny is a motorsport fan and has been to a number of North West Stages rallies.

He said: “A couple of years ago I got the chance to work at one, which was a fantastic experience. It was when I was at college, we were asked to help and I was given ‘spannering’ duties at one of the pit stops in the North West Stages rally in Blackpool. I loved it.”

He is also a keen photographer and often takes his camera to classic car shows.

“I love going to exhibition events and seeing some of the great vintage cars. I’m a bit of a fanatic when it comes to photographing them. I’ve taken hundreds,” he said.

But he prefers working out what’s under the bonnet to actually driving the cars.

“I’d always rather be the mechanic than the driver,” he said. “Engines have a fascinating life of their own.”

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