Meet India’s first female automobile mechanic


Unlike other women of her age, she stands out of the crowd. Not just for her achievements, but also for her attire. While most women in the little village of Timakiya near Meerut in Uttar Pradesh cover their head with veil, she dresses up like men. Wearing a shirt and trousers, Poonam Singh, the 24-year old heads out to work at a car dealership outlet, doing a job men do.

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At a time when most career options have seen women grow to their potential, car garages are amongst a few places where women haven’t put their foot in. Maruti Suzuki has initiated a program to accommodate women in rare professions like these.

And the change maker here, Poonam has many firsts to her credit. Not only is she the first girl in the country to complete her automobile mechanic course followed by an apprenticeship from the government-run Industrial Training Institute (ITI), going on to win a President’s Award for the same, but also the first girl in the family to have a “company” job.

Earnings
Maruti Suzuki claims Poonam earns Rs. 12,000 a month as fixed salary plus incentives based on performance. This is a handsome amount with bright prospects in a region where respectable and structured jobs are hard to come by, more so for girls.

Position
Being a Supervisor, her job entails assessing every car that enters, ensuring it is serviced properly and handling client queries on delivery. She is passionate about her job and wants to learn more about vehicles and machinery. She is a part of the 2nd Maruti Suzuki supported batch which benefited from upgraded infrastructure and value added inputs aligning students like her, more strongly to industry needs.

Trained on latest cars and systems, with practical experience, factory visits and a strengthened curriculum, the ITI is becoming a go-to place for many boys and girls from lesser privileged homes wanting a job in the auto industry.

“I never thought I would make a career in a male dominated profession. Not only did I do well in the ITI course but got a good job and promotion at Maruti Suzuki automobile service workshop. Now, I am planning to do an advanced course,” said Poonam Singh taking a break from instructing her team at the Mann Service Center, Meerut.

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