Over 100 women from vulnerable backgrounds graduate as fully-trained mechanics thanks to 'life-changing' initiative
Over 100 women from vulnerable situations have graduated as fully-trained mechanics, ahead of this weekend's Sao Paulo Grand Prix, thanks to an initiative from the promoters in Brazil in partnership with the institution Escola do Mecanico.
The project, which aims to increase diversity in a predominantly male industry, has seen these women graduate having completed their studies over the past year.
Escola do Mecanico (the Interlagos unit) was born with the mission of training qualified professionals for the automotive repair market and has trained over 50,000 people – 10% of those being women – across their nine institutions in Brazil since starting in 2011. They offer 30 courses, taught by 420 teachers, with 15,000 people trained in 2022, and a further 20,000 expected in 2023.
Reflecting on the ceremony to honour the graduates, Alan Adler, Sao Paulo Grand Prix CEO, said: “It’s a great emotion. Congratulations to all the students and teachers. It is beautiful and impactful to witness this commitment to believe in this project, to look forward, to look to the future.
“It’s life-changing. My message is to dream big because, if we haven’t, we wouldn't be here today. Dreaming is fundamental; to dream big or small, it’s the same work. This brings an energy that we end up making it come true. It is an important mindset for life.
“We are really proud of all those people, who dedicated their time [and] put so much effort in making their dreams come true. We strongly believe in diversity and inclusion. It is a priority topic for us and for Formula 1 as well, especially now that F1 has brought F1 Academy to life, a racing series for female drivers.
“Only by these means we will have a more equal, fairer, better world. I wish all the success in the world and I'm really cheering for all of them and for the project to continue for many years to come.”
Sandra Nalli, the CEO and founder of the Escola do Mecanico, added: “Being here in F1 is the materialization and continuation of a dream, and they are all the proof that women can be wherever they want, in whatever space they want, and go far. Never give up on mechanics. This is the driving force that moves the economy of this country, moves F1, moves the world.”
One of the graduate students, Morgana Ricelli Silva Nascimento, summed up how special the initiative is. She said: “When I took the course, encouraged by my father, the passion arose.
“During the course I was always very active and participating to learn more and more all the time.
“Then I was invited to participate in an action in which we worked on a 100% female team in a classic car race in Interlagos. I started to understand more and more and nowadays I work in a multinational doing training for women.”
Andreia Da Sivla Brandao, another graduate student, also added: “I became aware of the mechanics course for women on social media. I was a bit tired of my routine in what I am currently doing in sales.
"What I didn't know was that I would like it so much, and now, after graduating, I'm going to look for a new job as a mechanic and auto parts professional.
“It's life-changing, because many women don't believe in their own potential; we have to believe in ourselves. And the strength we found in us, thanks to the Escola do Mecanico makes it possible to make changes.”