As much as we hate to admit it, most of us don’t know car maintenance – inside and out. And this applies especially to women.
Stella Maris College in Sydney, Australia, knows this is a widespread problem, so they found an effective way to address it.
With the help of “car educators” Galmatic, Year 11 teenage girls at the school were taught how to change tires, check tire pressure, monitor oil and coolant levels, and what to do in the event of a minor car crash.
These lessons were all part of the school’s initiative to teach young people vital life skills.
Galmatic reached out to the school earlier this year to see if they were interested in the program. Its all-female team consists of four individuals “who specialize in helping Australian women and teenagers feel comfortable behind the wheel through our hands-on car maintenance workshops and online courses,” according to their website.
Eleni Mitakos, the owner of Galmatic, has lead the group for the past 13 years. Speaking with Daily Mail Australia, she emphasized that their hands-on workshops aren’t exclusive to teenage girls.
“We teach up to 100,000 teenagers a year in schools, across all parts of Sydney,” she said. “The primary aim is for teenagers to feel comfortable behind the wheel. Ultimately they are driving very big vehicles which can be very expensive if not looked after properly.”
“We can’t stress enough to all our students you should never ignore a problem with your car, you need to address it for your own safety,” she added.
Amy Smith, the assistant principal for well-being at Stella Maris College, said the students deemed the workshop as valuable.
“We had three groups of roughly 40 girls in what we call an incursion (event on school grounds),” she said. “The feedback was very positive, the ladies from Galmatic were very patient and thorough in what they were explaining.”
She said the school’s principal, Elizabeth Carnegie, and the rest of the teaching staff all felt that a workshop like that would benefit the students in many ways. Teenage girls needed to learn how to change tires, check the status of their vehicle, and deal with car accidents before they leave school.
“It was also important to show the girls that they have the capabilities to handle situations themselves once they are on the road, rather than rely on someone else,” Smith said.
Galmatic offers a two-hour hands-on basic car maintenance workshop for people of all ages. Participants don’t need to have any special skills or prior knowledge about cars to join. They’re also free to attend the workshop and bring along friends.
“Your course is excellent and it was so helpful. Turned out my oil was almost empty and the coolant as well. Without the workshop, I would have kept driving around with no idea I was about to blow my engine! Thank you!! Can’t wait to check my oil,” said one review from a satisfied workshop attendee on Galmatic’s website.
The school shared photos of the activity on its official Facebook page, where it garnered tons of positive reactions from its followers.
“This is fantastic!” said one comment. “Wish I could have joined in & learnt this skill! Well done Stella for teaching our girls how to be strong & independent.”
“As a mum of one of those Year 11 girls today and ex Stella student myself, a really worthwhile session. Table topic tonight at dinner! Here’s to safe knowledgeable drivers,” wrote another.
“This is the type of education our kids need in every school… well done!!” said another comment.
Indeed, these students are lucky to be able to participate in such a program. Hopefully, more countries adopt a similar initiative so that roads will be filled with knowledgeable and responsible drivers.