“Winning is about identifying a gap, then approaching it as an opportunity rather than an obstacle,” says Ann as we meet her in the motor vehicle workshop.
Ann is a student in our Vocational 16 class. She and 25 of her peers recently visited booths at Mutisya Technical Training Institute to learn more about choosing a trade to pursue. While Ann has always had a passion for cars, she thought she would choose another trade as she was not sure young women could become mechanics. But her visit to the motor vehicle mechanics booth at Mutisya convinced her that this was the work for her.
“It was such a shocker, but she has so much curiosity in the field. It’s definitely the right career for her,” said Mwalimu Alex, Founding Teacher of Vocational Programme in Jitegemee.
Jitegemee’s Vocational Programme, now in its seventeenth year, has played a role in transforming our community, providing trade skills and on-the-job training to young people in Machakos who have been excluded from the formal schooling sector. In turn, many of our Vocational Programme graduates are not only successful tradespeople, but are now employers themselves thus creating employment opportunities for those young people who follow in their footsteps.
Ann is an exceptional worker and after choosing to pursue mechanics she has excelled in all her classes. She is challenging the stereotypes that this is a “male-dominated” field, and plans to take advantage of this as she knows she can stand out as a female mechanic. As a result of Ann’s passion and dedication, she is quickly becoming an inspiration to her peers. Once she completes her training, Ann hopes to pursue her dream of opening her own motor garage where she plans to empower and encourage other women to overcome gender stereotypes and pursue a career of their choosing.
“Any career is good for anyone, at the end of the day one wants to earn a living while doing what they love. I’m lucky to get to do what I love for a living, here they call me the Mechanic Girl. It means I am encouraging someone else to pursue their career anywhere and in any field, despite their gender. Well, that’s greatly satisfying,” says Ann as she bids us good-bye as she rushes to her next class.