Cracking Automobile Sector and Stereotypes: Bella Sara
“My journey has been wonderful because I never gave up in the face of challenges. That’s what I urge all women to do as well.”
I hail from Ernakulum, Kerala. I graduated in science with an acute interest in the field of automotive services. Where I live, not many girls enroll in technical courses. There is still a huge gender gap when it comes to training in a technical field and receiving career opportunities in it.
I have always been interested in the automobile sector. When my Church told me about the Automotive Service Technician course at the Little Flower Engineering Institute (LFEI) in Kochi, under the Tata Motors’ LEAP program, I really felt in my heart that it was my calling to enroll in it.
My parents and relatives were initially skeptical. They were doubtful about me succeeding as a girl in this field. However, when they saw my genuine passion, they began to support me. I met other girls currently in the course. After they shared their experiences and the benefits of enrolling with me, I was inspired to join immediately.
Speaking of the programme, Vinod Kulkarni, CSR Head at Tata Motors, said, “The main motivation behind the Learn, Earn and Progress programme was to bring forth a course that provided quality training and cultivated hands-on experience for students specifically interested in the automotive sector. The programme has yielded excellent results, with over 80% of students finding employment with an average salary of INR 8000. The programme has also seen more girls applying in LFEI specifically, and they have done exceedingly well, dominating National Auto Skill Fests conducted by Tata Motors that see competition from LEAP institutes across the country. This has inspired many other girls to apply for the courses, taking us one step closer to making this space more gender diverse.”
There were financial constraints, but in alignment with the institute’s policy of supporting women who want to become technicians, I was offered a fee concession. My tutors were encouraging and treated me equally. This grew my confidence.
There are obvious challenges in my line of work because it demands physical labor and is dominated by men. However, I believe that a girl can overcome these obstacles to achieve success. Women must understand and believe that we all possess the same brain capability, and we can develop similar or better technical skills as our male counterparts. We are all equals in our potential no matter how much society tries to hold us back.
I share my story because stories like mine promise to inspire and attract many other women to pursue careers in the automobile sector. In addition to working, I am also now preparing for my MBA entrance. I hope to excel in that too, shattering the stereotypes like I always have and paving the way for many other women like me.
Our most significant challenges are often internal. I would advise all young women to always be brave and bold. The only person who can promote you is you. Give your best in all that you do and never give in to the “I can’t” mentality. Support and cheer for other women. Celebrate their success. Solidarity is very important when it comes to dismantling stereotypes. Uplift one another and always be positive. There is a silver lining that awaits you when you transcend your fears.