King’s former pupil and Bentley Programme Manager Dominique Roberts told aspiring female engineers of her rapid rise from work experience at Adlington Auto Centre to Bentley Motors and helping to redefine the luxury car market.
Dominique, who is still only 23, started her incredible journey on work experience at the Adlington garage before going on to work for Porsche, Lamborghini, Force India F1 Team and Bentley, all while completing her first-class Engineering degree and award-winning thesis.
Dominique was speaking at the Macclesfield School’s Senior Girls’ Division, as part of its guest speaker programme and revealed to the current generation, “I did not start off my academic journey as the smartest in the classroom, far from it, but I had passion, drive and now - as a woman in engineering - I bring something different to the table.”
Those strengths have turned out to be the imaginative application of core engineering and scientific principles plus the personal skills as taught to her by her grandfather, Jim Sutton, who she says “was not only an engineer but a true gentleman, who taught me the skills needed to be a good leader.”
Inspired by his ability to ‘tinker’ with anything and make it better, Dominique sought out her first opportunity for work experience and after many rejections, Harper’s Auto Centre in Adlington took a chance on her. “They were fantastic; they let me learn on the job and take up the spanners. They never once put me down but encouraged me, respected me and taught me and I can’t thank them enough for the opportunity.”
She then moved one step closer to her dream when she went to work as a Race Engineer for Hartech Racing Porsche Club Team in Bolton, initially as the team’s PR agent, writing blogs and press releases but after mentoring from the team management, getting to work as a Race Engineer.
From there she went to Lamborghini Racing UK in Global 24 hour GT Racing as Principal Race and Data Engineer. Then Dominique moved to work for F1 with Force India, though as she found out, “this work not necessarily on the race track but back at HQ analysing engineering data.”
All this time she was at the Central University of Lancashire, gaining a first-class Engineering degree and, in her final year, also acting as Managing Director for their four-car racing programme.
She took a year out of her studies on an Industrial Placement where she was a Project Engineer on Bentley’s Hybrid Electric Vehicle programme, which saw her return to university but now sponsored by Bentley to complete her thesis. Her study “The redefinition of luxury through the use of renewable energy in electric vehicles” won The Institute of Mechanical Engineering’s Global Award for Services to Engineering Progress in 2017.
In 2018, she returned to Bentley as Programme Manager for Product Development Transformation. Dominique has many aspirations for the future but she also believes “as educated individuals we have a responsibility to give back to society”. Having now moved back to Macclesfield she was elected for the position of Board Member for the Silk Heritage Trust, where she hopes to use both her Engineering and Business knowledge to help an integral part of Macclesfield make its journey toward the future.
Dominique’s key advice to young people is: “Know what you’re passionate about. Keep an open mind. Take every opportunity you can. Finally and most importantly, don’t just aspire to be something, aspire to do something.”
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