Inspired by the first woman mechanic in Nigeria Sandra Aguebor-Ekperuoh, several young girls from different parts of the country are trooping into Kaduna to make a career in auto mechanics. Weekly Trust reports
It seems men are no longer enjoying the sole prestige they cornered in the past over certain exclusive jobs hitherto considered the preserve of men. Even for odd, hard jobs, women are now neck to neck in stiff competition with their male counterparts. The latest of such feats is the emergence of roadside women mechanics in some parts of the country.
The population of young girls aspiring to make a career in mechanic at the Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN) Kaduna is beginning to change the mindset of other women who had previously thought the profession is exclusively for men.
The centre, which is meant to train all Nigerians and foreigners on modern ways of fixing cars, it was gathered, has been taken over by Nigerian women with passion in auto mechanics.
Weekly Trust investigations revealed that several young girls from different parts of the country are now trooping into PAN mechanic training centre to learn the trade
Learning the job with determination, the young girls said they have been inspired by the first woman mechanic in Nigeria, Sandra Aguebor- Ekperuoh, a native of Benin City, Edo State who is the founder of Lady Mechanics Initiative where they had initial stint and preliminary training.
Weekly Trust gathered that though independent candidates seeking to make a career in mechanics pay N150,000 for one year, about 309 women mechanics have been trained this year alone. In addition, others are awaiting their graduation. Sources say a substantial number of the women are from Edo state.
Some of the young girls said they are pursuing a career in mechanics to be independent and bring in new innovations in the automobile industry.
The young girls who are within the ages of 18 and 23, said there enrolment into the PAN centre was to gain a post training experience having acquired the basic skills from their various centres.
A trainee, Vera Akhiyere said “in considering opportunities that one can make in life, I thought it wise to learn mechanics, because there is hardly a house in Nigeria that someone doesn’t own a car. Instead of moving from one place to another, I decided to learn mechanic. We’ve been in Kaduna for about three months now. We came here to acquire more knowledge because we are based in Benin. We are now doing our Industrial Training (IT) that will enable us to graduate and be independent.”
When asked on why she has to come all the way from Edo State for a three months training in Kaduna, Vera said she want to make a career in mechanics adding: “I’ve learnt a lot. I now know the function of gear-box. As you can see, we dismantled the gear-box and we are now fixing it back.”
The 21-year-old said “not only the gear-box that I have learned how to diagnose in a car, I can diagnose an entire car and clear the faults.”
For Chioma Ogba, being an automobile mechanic has nothing to do with gender, adding that one’s ability and trait is what matters.
Chioma said she has learnt a lot at the PAN, because there are a lot of machines she was not exposed to before, but has had the privilege of being exposed to them. She said coming to Kaduna will groom her to be an independent mechanic after graduation.
She said “there were some things I did not know about a car before, but on getting here, we acquired more knowledge on how to fix the rear bomber, how to couple the dash box, head lights and other components of a car.”
Another young girl, Blessing Aifuwa said her determination is to become an outstanding woman in the automobile industry. She said many people discouraged her when she wanted to enroll for the mechanic training.
“With the new technologies, one doesn’t need physical strength to be a mechanic. The equipment we used will help preserve our strength and keep the car in a good condition unlike the way tools and other heavy equipment are being hammered on cars these days,” she said.
Elizabeth Osagie also said her three months internship has revealed to her that several women have been discouraged from taking a career in mechanic because of the ignorance about the profession.
Elizabeth said “there is no barrier on what a woman can do. Our own system of repairing cars will definitely be different from the road side mechanics who were not opportuned to learn with this kind of equipment. After our graduation, my determination is to setup my own workshop that will accommodate other boys and girls who will be willing to learn under me.”
Weekly Trust gathered that many of the young girls eho have learnt mechanic at the PAN are now on their own by setting up their personal workshops as qualified auto-mechanics.
“Some of them we have trained here are doing very well. We have two of them working in Kaduna with Mantrack while many of them are working with other organizations. A substantial number of them are actually on their own and are doing well,” said Mrs. Elizabeth Mordi, coordinator of the affairs of women mechanics at the center.
She said “the young girls who come from Edo State have a sponsor who is the first female mechanic in Nigeria, Engineer Sandra. She actually sponsors them to Kaduna for the training in every three months.”
Director of Workshops, PAN, Mr. Emmanuel Emejime while commending the efforts of the young girls said “we take them in here for three months, because they actually have the experience and all we do here is to fine-tune them before they get into the labour market. Independent people who come to learn mechanics here pay not less than N150,000 a year.