With a mother who raced motorbikes and a father who built racing vehicles, motoring has always featured in Hayley Pells’ life, but it wasn’t until she was injured in Iraq that she considered a career in the industry.
Hayley started in the sector “entirely by accident” when she joined her father’s business building single-seat racing cars, after convalescing from an injury sustained while serving in the armed forces in Iraq. Now, she runs the business herself – one of few female garage owners in Wales.
Avia Autos is now a light vehicle MOT station that also carries out maintenance and repair work. Thanks to the company’s history of manufacturing racing cars, it has become a suspension tuning specialist, and recently also started calibrating advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).
“This benefits the motorist by providing semi-autonomous technology,” she explains. “It’s the next stage of development for the company and requires significant investment in equipment, space and training.”
Avia, based in Bridgend, employs four people and has a 50:50 gender split. The business recently received the Exemplar Employer Award from Chwarae Teg, a charity working in Wales to support the economic development of women, for recognition of its employment practices.