People & Careers Channel

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JP Latham


People & Careers Channel

Discuss your career progression, seek advice on your next steps and how to make the most of opportunities. Just started a job? Share your pride with the network!

People & Careers Channel

Discuss your career progression, seek advice on your next steps and how to make the most of opportunities. Just started a job? Share your pride with the network!

Gaining Experience – What are you interested in?

Posted by: JP2020 - Posted: January 19, 2021

Are you looking to gain experience in a particular area of the motorsport industry?

What is it that you are interested in learning?

We’re at the starting line ready to support our members with motorsport industry opportunities as soon as it is safe to do so (Covid permitting).

Keep an eye on the channel and website for ongoing updates!


I am currently looking for a career change to become a race engineer (currently 6 years into a job office based for the chemical industry). I would like to develop my skills in vehicle engineering, building up industry technical knowledge and car performance. Just some of the skills I need to acquire.

Good Afternoon Donna, and welcome to Student Motorsport!

I’ve just taken a look over at your profile, fantastic to see you have put a good deal of effort into it soon as you signed up, and there’s that keyword we love to see ‘determined!’

When it comes to looking to take a break from or a total change from a career path you are not the only one, we hear about this all the time, it’s a very exciting time for you, and it means we get the chance to support you.

I have to say you do have a good amount of experience at Santa Pod Raceway, I’m sure many would love to be in your situation. Perhaps you have met some of the guys from one of our college members NWSLC (North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College) their lecturer Steve Cassis, in fact, I am sure you’ll have met him.

We also have other members here, and female members also that are also race marshals so I am sure they will be thrilled and will welcome you here too.

Anyway, rambling away. What specifically interests you, lets really work out what you want to move into. Is it the design engineering side of a race vehicle and therefore analysis of its performance, or more so the set-up of a race going vehicle and therefore its performance with the ‘driver’?

Thank you for your response and for your warm welcome onto this platform. Nice to know I am not alone in this journey, considering I dived straight into working life from an early age, not knowing what I wanted to do and now I am starting to see where I want to go.

I have seen Steve around, I shall try to collar him down at some point when race season gets underway, he may be able to help me along my learning journey.

Glad to hear of other race marshals, I would recommend people consider becoming one, just to get yourself trackside and used to the atmosphere and that more important part which is networking.

I want to be more hands on, I try to work on my own cars at home, got my own drift car project, so it would be more set-up of a race car and getting the best out of the car for the driver. I would like to be a mechanic, so working on the car throughout the race weekend, tweaking bits, optimising performance etc.

Hi Donna,

Hey, warm welcomes are what we do, we’re a friendly bunch here!

You are certainly not alone in your journey into the motorsport industry, we’ve been there and want to see you succeed. Hey, let us know if you get in touch with Steve he is one here from time to time, sure he’d like to hear from you.

So with regards to your marshalling experience, have you done much, what’s the experience been like to date?

Moving onto the motorsport experience, perhaps we can work towards getting you some experience (Covid-permitting) in a ‘hands-on’ placement, have you completed our placement request form on the placements page by any chance? We could work on you aiming for a career in mechanics with a view to engineering (set-up/analysis/car performance) work as you develop?

In the meantime tell us more about your drift car project, better still why not start up an additional post in the Mechanics Channel (with a cool picture of the car)and let’s get the conversation moving to support you with that?

Hi JP,
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, I didn’t receive a notification. Nice to feel so welcomed into this community.

I have been in touch with Steve, he tells me I am in good hands with student motorsport assistance. Marshalling experience, I have done 3 race calendars at Santa pod raceway, I started as a trainee drag bike scrutineer but then moved on to the signing on for drivers, passengers etc for both going up the strip and drift rides. I also have worked in the pairing lanes during championship weekends (all pre-covid). I also marshal a couple of days a year at Curborough Sprint Course up in Birmingham, would like to marshal other circuits but unfortunately since Rockingham is no longer, I have to venture out further afield.

I would be interested in a placement, I have completed your form for initial assessment via the placements page. The only issue which has become apparent over the last few weeks when showing commitment to the idea of going to college is because I have overheads (live on my own), I cannot physically afford to have 3 days off a week to go college and study in race mechanics. How do people get around wanting a career change, learning and still earning a wage? You could suggest apprenticeship route but apprenticeship wage is not sufficient for a 25 year old. I don’t want this post to put anyone off or perhaps sound negative but it’s just something to consider if you are an older student. College bursaries only partially fund a course not the wage lost. I am all ears on ways, suggestions I can get around this.

Morning Donna,

Good to hear back from you, no apologies needed. It’s great to hear you have been in touch with Steve, he’s a fantastic tutor and is dedicated to helping others learn about motorsport.

So 3 seasons at Santa Pod, you must have many interesting memories to share with us? Nice to see that ‘general’ progression you made from scrutineering through to having more responsibilities. I’d recommend you add this work and your marshalling experience to your career timeline it’s something that illustrates your developing experience.

With regards to a work placement, we are here for you! We have ‘logged’ your enquiry (back in Nov) and will be in touch in the coming weeks. We’ve been delayed in coming back to you due to what’s going on out there, our apologies, obviously much is dependant on Covid but we hare half-glass full and are preparing for the best and to place our candidates where they will benefit the most.

With respect to college and your overheads, there is support available to people in your position, so do not worry, you are not alone. When I taught at college we had students complete their courses in a number of different ways with independently planned programmes of studies and support provided, but it ll depends on your individual circumstances and the arrangement that the college/tutors are prepared to make.

You also have to consider that you already have a level 3 qualification and could for example apply to do an online course at for example the National Motorsport Academy.

We can help ‘steer you’ so you are able to continue your studies but focus on the financial side away from the ‘public chat areas’ here to protect your privacy.

Now we see three options so far:

1. Let’s look at where you ‘could’ study at college to see if we can speak with them to open up the possibilities of supporting your individual circumstances. This resource will help:

2. Then consider the online degree option?

3. Work towards your career goals through our work placements route.

Hope this helps.

Hi JP, Just a heads up that I have sent you an email wishing to carry the discussion away from this particular discussion board. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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