King’s Lynn woman has wrecked cars on her mind

With her purple clipboard and pink camera, bubbly Claire Bramham admits she is not the type of person most people expect to assess the damage to their car after a prang.

In fact, the 32-year-old is one of only a handful of female vehicle damage assessors in the country and she struggled at first to find her feet in the male-dominated profession.

But with her cuddly toy on her desk and a dog calendar hanging in her office at Gladwins Body Repair Centre in King's Lynn, she hopes now others will follow her lead.

The King's Lynn resident said: 'The reaction to start with was that of shock from most of the men working here.

'I think it was just because it's not something you see every day and they must've thought 'why is she telling me what to do?'.

'When engineers call to discuss estimates and I answer they still tell me they are waiting to speak to an assessor, not believing that is me.

'When I also approach some of our customers and say 'let's have a look at your car', they just look past me and ask when the man is coming out.

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'Most of these customers are male because women customers say they are happier to see me than a man.'

Ms Bramham started life at Gladwins working as a receptionist at the company's Cambridge branch but decided early on that she wanted to improve her skills and knowledge of the motor industry.

She continued: 'Growing up, I always wanted to do something unusual that no-one would expect me to do. I wanted to make a mark for myself and get away from the 'traditional' female jobs and achieve something different.'

After deciding to become a vehicle damage assessor, Ms Bramham would work her normal hours as a receptionist before putting in extra hours with her male colleagues honing her skills in estimating.

Her determination paid off when she recently completed the difficult task of passing the leading industry qualification for vehicle damage assessment. Only six women have passed this exam.

Ms Bramham is now dreaming of being able to run a body repair centre one day.

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