Our News

24 February 2012

First Female in Wales passes Senior Paint ATA at CAVC

Twenty-three year old Courtenai Cox is the first female to pass the Senior Paint ATA in Wales after taking the one-day assessment at Cardiff and Vale College, formed from the merger of Barry College and Coleg Glan Hafren in August last year.

Courtenai, who works for RGM Vehicle Body Repairs Ltd in Haverfordwest, successfully completed four practical assessments and an online assessment at the College to become a Senior ATA Qualified Painter. The Automotive Department of the College, which is the only Ford Apprenticeship Centre in Wales, is associated with the Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA). The ATA is a national voluntary scheme which tests the current competence of individuals working in the retail motor industry, who are committed to an ethical code of conduct.

After beginning her apprenticeship seven years ago with Nationwide Crash Repairs, Courtenai who is originally from Yeovil but currently living in Carmarthen, has thrived in a male dominated industry. She is the only female employee operative working in the workshop at RGM Vehicle Body Repairs Ltd and as the only Senior ATA Qualified Painter she is looking after a young male apprentice who she hopes will follow in her footsteps and shortly attain his Senior ATA accreditation. 

Courtenai, who left school at the age of sixteen with 10 GCSEs said: “I’m a bit shocked but being the first female senior paint ATA in Wales is definitely an incentive for me to carry on as a paint sprayer. Hopefully I can get more women involved in the industry. I love working at RGM, it’s the best place I’ve ever worked. I learnt a lot from my assessment day at the College, things I never knew before, which I can now put into practice at work and pass on to my apprentice.”   

RGM Vehicle Body Repairs Ltd is based In Swansea and they also have a workshop in Haverfordwest where Courtenai has been working for five months. Robert Morgan, CEO of RGM Vehicle Body Repairs Ltd said: “For many years it has been a male dominated industry and it is extremely refreshing that we can attract women who have a greater artistic flair. We are pleased and honoured to have Courtenai work with us, she is a fantastic painter and we are very proud of her achievements. Courtenai is a gregarious and dedicated individual, a real grafter, and she keeps the boys on their toes.

Her capabilities match or go beyond that of her male counterparts with thorough and speedy work which is of high quality. It’s not easy to get an ATA qualification and a lot of (good) painters have tried and failed in the past. For Courtenai to pass this qualification and be the first female in Wales is a great feat.”   

Peter Gibbons, Director of Full Time Studies Vehicle Body Repair and Paint Refinishing at Cardiff and Vale College, said:When we received the application form for the assessment I was particularly excited and interested as Courtenai was the first lady to register for the qualification. When Courtenai arrived at Cardiff and Vale College with a wide range of Vehicle Refinishing awards/qualifications I wanted to see if her practical skills matched the high standard of her knowledge.

“During the course of the assessment day it was a pleasure to observe her successfully complete all of the practical assessments and the knowledge exam to a very high standard. Completion of the assessment proved that Courtenai can work in line with and beyond National Occupational Standards and has progressed to be a highly skilled, licensed professional in a predominantly male dominated industry.”


Twnety-three year old Courtenai Cox after passing
the Senior Paint ATA examination