The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu has appointed a new workshop apprentice – its first ever female workshop staff member.

Emily Leese, aged 18, joins the museum’s experienced workshop team to help maintain and restore its collection of more than 250 historic vehicles. When she completes her apprenticeship, Emily will become the first to do so since Museum Manager and Chief Engineer Doug Hill finished his apprenticeship 40 years ago. Emily has been a volunteer at the National Motor Museum since the age of 14; she starts her four-year apprenticeship funded by a small group of Beaulieu One Hundred members.

Spending most of her time based in the museum workshop at Beaulieu to gain hands-on experience, Emily will also study the skills of the trade with Rolls-Royce and Bentley specialist P&A Wood in Essex as block release study, working towards Level 2 and 3 Diplomas in Classic Vehicle Restoration.

By assisting and learning from the museum’s experienced team of five workshop engineers, Emily will help to maintain and repair a staggering variety of vehicles including prestigious veteran cars, classic racers, luxury limousines, vintage motorcycles, Land Speed Record-breakers and even the famous Beaulieu Monorail. Previously Emily, from North Baddesley in Southampton, had spent two years studying Motor Vehicle Engineering at Sparsholt College in Hampshire.

National Motor Museum Manager and Chief Engineer Doug Hill said: “Ever since Emily first visited us for work experience four years ago, I have been impressed by her enthusiasm and determination. I was the last apprentice to complete my training here at the National Motor Museum 40 years ago, so it makes me exceptionally proud to offer this opportunity to a new recruit by employing Emily as our apprentice in the workshop.

It has been a long process to make that happen but with the help of our sponsors, the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) and many others, we can move a huge step forward in ensuring our legacy of knowledge is safe for the future.”

Emily added: “I don’t know what the future of the classic car movement will be or what will be considered a classic in years to come but with so much going on in the workshop all the time, I’m hoping to stay here at Beaulieu for a long time. However, I would like to see more youngsters given the same opportunity that I have.”