Vocational training has had a long history in the education system in Northern Ireland, helping individuals to gain the skills and knowledge needed for a successful career. For anyone considering a career in motor vehicle, female apprentice Shanice Murray, from Killyclogher, is a great example.
Shanice is just one of a handful of young women across the province pursuing a career in the male dominated industry.
Shanice is currently studying towards an apprenticeship in light vehicle maintenance and repair and is in her second year of study, and is one of three girls in her class, at South West College.
While the auto industry has traditionally been a male-dominated workplace, the number of women in the industry is increasing, and Shanice explains that her studies in Vehicle Maintenance and Repair stemmed from a natural childhood passion for cars.
She says, “I was always interested in cars and rallying in particular, but when my car broke down a few times and I wasn’t able to fix it myself, I started to consider learning about the mechanical side of things. South West College was the best place for me to do that. At first, I was surprised to find other female students on the course with me, which was very encouraging. I think female involvement in these courses and on these career paths is going to continue and increase and it’s great to see.”
Shanice will be continuing her studies at South West College and her experience so far has even inspired her to consider a future career as a lecturer. She says: “I can definitely see myself as a teacher one day. I’d like to work in industry to gain the vital experience that comes from that, then go down the lines of a teaching degree. There are more and more women involved in this line of study and work. I think more female lecturers in this area is a natural progression and would only help increase the number of female students.”
Shanice says that anyone who has an interest in vehicle work should explore the options available to them by visiting the Gortin Road Workshop Open day on 22 June. She says: “I found that by following my initial passions for cars and car maintenance, a variety of pathways have opened up for me. I’d certainly recommend anyone who shares those interests to come along and see what is on offer to them.”
To find out more about Automotive Courses at South West College, please visit: www.swc.ac.uk/learn/vehicle-maintenance