Our daughter wants to be a mechanic
Q: My almost 18-year-old daughter has just told us she’s changed her plans and is not going to university this year, as planned. She has spent much of the summer working in her boyfriend’s garage and now she says she wants to be a mechanic. He says she’s good at the job especially the wiring. My wife wants her to go to university. I don’t mind if she gets an apprenticeship but I can’t bear the thought of her working in that cold dirty environment forever.
A: I think you should separate the issues here. It’s a shock that your daughter has changed her plans without discussing them with you, her parents. It’s disappointing but now it’s done, you’d be better off accepting this and getting on with helping her make future good choices.
As a car mechanic, your daughter will have less trouble getting work than in many other career options. According to NZTA figures, there are more than four million registered vehicles in New Zealand today.
Electric cars are becoming a bigger part of our future and a good motor mechanic will always be in demand. She has expressed a particular interest in wiring and this is also an area of constantly growing demand.
Rather than focus on the negatives, like her work environment being cold and drafty, or the probability of her spending most of her day with grease-stained hands, you’d be better off supporting her and making the most out of this decision.
Is she going to use her boyfriend’s garage as the base for her apprenticeship? Do some research and seek some advice to find the best way for your daughter to complete her training. To become certified, it is usually a three- or four-year training programme.
As with many young people, her plans may evolve or change and she could end up going to university later, or training in a completely different field. Even if this all falls over, learning how to fix a car is a useful life skill for any of us.
❚ Mary-anne Scott has raised four boys and written two novels for young adults including Coming Home to Roost. As one of seven sisters, there aren’t many parenting problems she hasn’t talked over. To send her a question email firstname.lastname@example.org with Dear Mary-anne in the subject line. Your anonymity is assured.
Being a mechanic may not be what you had in mind for your daughter, but make the most of it, advises Mary-anne.