TALENTED apprentice Chelsea George has been named apprentice of the year by a car retailer.
As a six-year-old she watched her dad build an Austin Healey replica at her childhood home in Cape Town in South Africa.
Now aged 19, Chelsea is one of four technicians employed at Snows Seat Portsmouth in Airport Service Road.
Two-and-a-half years into her employment in what has traditionally been a male-dominated industry, she has scooped the company’s top apprentice award for second-year apprentices.
Delighted Chelsea, who lives with her parents Graham and Clare in Havant, said: ‘I was quite surprised when I heard I had won the award.
‘I wasn’t expecting it. But I have to say I try to prove myself over the guys, especially after some of the banter I have to put up with.
‘I do really enjoy my working environment and the targets and expectations we have keep me on my toes.
‘I find engine diagnostics especially interesting.’
In recognition of her achievement, Chelsea received £170 worth of tools from her employers, Snows Motor Group, and a £200 gift voucher from Seat UK to be spent on workshop equipment.
Chelsea, who is an only child, can thank her parents for steering her towards a successful career in the motor trade after they decided to leave Cape Town for England to enhance her career prospects.
Her dad also once bought her an old Vauxhall Tigra to do up when she was 15.
She studied lightweight vehicle maintenance at Paragon Skills for Industry in Fareham while taking her GCSEs at Hayling College on Hayling Island.
Now Chelsea combines gaining experience at work with training sessions at the Volkswagen Group National Learning Centre in Milton Keynes.
Away from work, cars are still very much part of Chelsea’s life as she modifies her own car as well as attends car shows with her boyfriend and his drift car.
Martina Marr, service manager at Snows Seat Portsmouth, said: ‘We are delighted at what Chelsea has achieved and the whole team are proud of her success.
‘She is bubbly, determined and hard working and wants to succeed.’