Numerous people have asked me why I started running classes for women in basic vehicle maintenance.
I first thought of the idea about five years ago as many women who visited the garage I worked at, commented to me that they knew nothing about their cars and would feel too scared to ask a man!
I love teaching and I love cars, so an idea began to form in my mind that I could combine my passion for both - by writing a lesson plan for a course to offer hands on training.
I spent some time planning a class that would assume no prior experience, give women the knowledge and confidence to tackle simple tasks and be easy to follow without being patronising.
Opening a bonnet, checking levels, even changing a wheel doesn't require a rocket scientist mentality, just a little confidence and determination. I have found with so many things in life that fear stops us from trying and felt I could do something to help alleviate that fear.
The plans were shelved for a while as I didn't have a suitable venue and not many people in the trade shared my enthusiasm for the idea! When I finally opened my garage last June, I dug out my old notes and shaped them into a class I felt and hoped would work. Delivering the first one was unbelievably nerve racking as I had no idea whether my timings would be accurate or whether it would be well received. I was delighted and relieved at the end of the first class when my first students told me howmuch they had enjoyed the evening. The response since has been overwhelming and I feel very lucky to be doing something I love so much.
I have discovered that it is not just women who know very little about their cars, several men have expressed a desire to attend a class.
As a result of this I am planning to offer a mixed course for father/daughter husband/ wife type combinations. I am also in the process of writing a syllabus for a more in depth class as a follow on, to be held over a number of weeks.
Some of you may remember me saying that this year I was going to buy a Triumph Dolomite Sprint and call it Dorothy. Ah, well that plan may have to wait. I am now the proud owner of a Triumph TR4 needing restoration. She is called Dixie and affectionately nicknamed 'Sieve' by Paul my mechanic (owing to the large number of holes)!
I plan to have her on the road by the end of the summer, Paul says: 'Summer next year if you're lucky!' We'll see!