29-year-old car mechanic and MOT tester, Sharney Fane, was always involved with the motor trade when she was growing up because her father, Geoff Fane, is the founder of Caterham Autos in Roffes Lane, Chaldon which he opened in 1982. However, Sharney first trained as a hairdresser before realising that she wanted to be part of the business that her dad had worked so hard to build up over the years. At age 21 she quit working in a salon and went to work with Geoff.
“After a year or two I did my Level 2 Mechanic course at East Surrey College, then went on to do Level 3 two years later,” says Sharney.
“The only thing we did not have at Caterham Autos was an MOT bay so I put the idea into Dad’s head and he thought it was a great idea!”
“She is not only a lovely daughter, but also the son I never had,” jokes Geoff.
After qualifying as a registered MOT tester, Sharney opened her new MOT test bay, SR Fane MOTs, alongside the Caterham Autos workshop last summer.
Sharney says: “I quite enjoy being a woman in a man’s world. In this day and age there are more women working in traditionally male roles and I have made friends with other female mechanics I have met through the trade – we even have our own Facebook page! It feels a bit like we are empowering women.
“My favourite part of the job is being here for the girls. Some women can feel a bit intimated taking their car in for an MOT and they feel more at ease with a female. All of dad’s regulars have got to know me over the years as well, which is really nice. I do get the odd cheeky comment but generally the customers have been very supportive.”
Geoff says: “Sharney has definitely put her own feminine touch on the auto trade!”
Sharney says that another important aspect of the job is being able to carry on her father’s business.
“He worked so hard over the years to build it up so I don’t want it to end when he eventually stops working,” she says.
Geoff says: “I first realised that Sharney was capable when she was about six years old. She used to race up and down in a go-kart and every time the chain came off she would ask me to fix it. One day I could not fix it straight away, and the next thing I knew, Sharney said: “Don’t worry dad, I’ve fixed the chain, washed my hands and put your tools away!” and I thought “there’s a bit of common sense in that one!”
Sharney also does MOTs for local mechanics who do not have their own facilities, e.g. mobile mechanics.
To book an MOT test with Sharney, call SR Fane MOTs on 01883 348748. You can follow Sharney on Instagram at srfane_mot.