I’d just finished a fashion course and saw FST’s Driving Ambition leaflet. I really want to learn to drive so I thought I’d try it. I was like, wow, free driving lessons and theory test? Cars are always going to be with us and driving is a skill for life. There’s also jobs that require a licence.
In terms of work placement in the garage, which is part of the programme, I was really nervous. I thought it’d be quite manly, with lots of lifting. Also because of my size – I’m quite slight – I thought, ‘it’s going to be hell.’ But then I thought it can’t hurt me and over time my strength should improve and in fact there’s machinery to help you do things.
The staff are really friendly and good at explaining things. They tell you what’s wrong with the car then give you tasks. I’m very aware it’s a real garage, with real customers.
If another woman was thinking of joining SMaRT Garage Services as a mechanic I’d say go for it. It’s fun learning about vehicles – it sounds complicated but it’s actually not.
My outlook has shifted. Having depression makes you feel worthless. Coming here makes me feel normal, I feel like I can do something now, it gives me something to focus on. Being female and working as a mechanic is a talking point. It’s been good for my confidence.
Names have been changed.