Abigayle Wetton is a Strategic Account Manager at McLaren Applied. She started working there after graduating with a Business Management degree from Birmingham City University.
Abi took an unconventional route to get her first role at McLaren Applied as an Account Executive.
“I applied for a competition, so the Telegraph newspaper do something called the STEM Awards, and it's sponsored by many different businesses across the UK, and within that they set challenges and you apply with an idea of an invention that responds to that challenge,” she tells Females in Motorsport.
Her idea of solar-powered sensors for the trams in her hometown of Nottingham impressed the judges.
“I ended up winning the McLaren Applied category of the competition,” she says. “So I got work experience at McLaren Applied for a week, did that, and then they offered me a job at the end of the work experience.”
This was an unexpected career path for Abi, as she admits that she hadn’t really considered working in a STEM-focused organisation.
“At the time I was working in retail,” she says, “I was applying for graduate schemes in retail management - Aldi, Tesco, all that sort of thing. So, it wasn't really where I expected to go!”
However, after she spent a week doing work experience at McLaren Applied it was love at first sight.
“As soon as I got into the company and saw the breadth of everything they do and how exciting it is, I fell in love with it straight away,” she says.
She found that many of the skills she’d learnt in non-STEM subjects were transferable to her new role.
“The different skills, problem solving, creative thinking, which I always applied to subjects like English actually work so much in my role.”
As a Strategic Account Manager, Abi is responsible for working closely with clients and overseeing projects from start to finish. On a day-to-day basis, she is “working with new customers, following leads and opportunities”.
“If we get a bid that comes out, coming up with a technical solution with the engineers and putting together the commercial response and in most cases,” she says. “I’m just being the touchpoint for the customer at McLaren Applied.”
Abi is involved in the public transport area of McLaren Applied.
She explains: “Primarily what we do is we take technology that was derived in Formula 1, so software, data analysis concepts, and we look to apply that into the world of public transport”.
Coming into McLaren Applied as a graduate straight out of university, Abi has had many opportunities to develop her skills and learn new things.
“I've always felt that they give people the opportunity based on what they can do,” she says. “There are a lot of occasions where I’ve gone in at the deep end.
“In other roles, people might have said, you've not got the experience to do that, but there's a lot of trust in the fact that if you've got the ability to do something, they'll let you run with it.”
As a woman who works in the transport industry, she has noticed that she’s a minority.
“I went to a conference in Germany last week and it's clear there is still only a small representation of women there but it's changing,” Abi says. “McLaren Applied is in the forefront of changing that and pushing that forward.”
Abi is a STEM ambassador at McLaren Applied and one of the women involved in the Females in Motorsport x McLaren Applied STEM Search competition. She is passionate about increasing the visibility and excitement around STEM, especially for people who might take a slightly different path.
“I got to the point of being at University and I’d not really had much visibility of what Stem was and what engineering was,” she says. “You don't have to do it through the generic route of being great at physics and maths if you've got an interest in things in engineering.”
Abi will meet our competition winner in June at the McLaren Technology Centre, alongside other women who work at McLaren Applied.
“I'm excited to engage with you guys and see what we can do!” she says.