Breaking Stereotypes

Syeda Aisha Atif – Junior Technician at Nissan – Arabian Automobiles

As the first ever Female Technician at Arabian Automobiles & Co (AAC), Syeda Aisha, a graduate of Herriot-Watt university is turning her love and passion for cars into a career and in the process, is becoming a role model for a new generation of female car lovers. Her appointment is timely as AAC moves towards embracing diversity and inclusion at the workplace, especially in the technical field.

A mechanical engineer by education, Aisha is a Junior Technician with the maintenance team at AAC’s Deira Aftersales Facility. Her aim is to encourage and train other women to come forward and join the automotive Industry which is transforming with opportunities.

Shereen Shabnam meets with Aisha at her workplace and finds out more about how she realized her dream to be part of a leading automotive company in UAE.

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you developed your passion for cars.

I am a mechanical engineer by profession, specializing in the automotive industry since 2018. As soon as I graduated, I joined a small customization garage but not in a technical role. With my passion for cars, it was a good starting point.

My love for cars developed over the years of my dad taking me and my mom to motor shows and this sparked my passion for beautiful machines. In school, I started learning about the physics and technology behind cars and started meeting professionals in the industry who introduced me to the local car scene, meetups and events.

How has AAC helped you in terms of work development and growth?

It has been actually a very good place for me to grow and I have had a lot of support from all my colleagues at every level in the company. And I see that I can grow a lot more here, move up the ladder in the technical field while also pursuing my passion at the same time.

As the first female technician in the company, have you thought of mentoring as well?

My end goal involves teaching, especially encouraging young males and females to gain more knowledge and exposure in a proper, organized, professional way. I definitely want more females to come into the industry to pursue their passion, despite what everyone keeps saying and gatekeeping because a car is there for everybody, and nothing should stop anyone from pursuing a career in this field.

How has the reaction been in terms of your male counterparts?

AAC is a good place to comfortably work, and my male colleagues actually have confidence in my previous experience and are extremely supportive. They are always guiding me, giving me tips, fun facts. They are casual like friends, and this makes the workplace enjoyable.

What’s the favorite part of the job?

I love the cool environment as everybody here actually enjoys what they are doing. You can see it by their body language, their work ethic, that they are passionate about cars and like to work with their hands. I like it as it motivates me more seeing everyone genuinely enjoying their work.

And do you have any role models to look up to?

I have been surrounded by a lot of people who have inspired me, but especially my best friend in the automotive industry who has done a lot of groundbreaking things. In general, I feel more inspired by people staying grounded and being open with information.

is there a particular innovation or technology in the last couple of years that excites you?

Despite not being extremely enthusiastic about EVs, some of the technology they carry like the autopilot, the security features and the 360 cameras that have come in recently are impressive. I also like how the gasoline powered engines are evolving and the fact that you can shift drives between manual and automatic modes while driving.

What else excites you?

Mostly it’s just cars, but other than that I like pursuing art. I have two cats at home, so I am mostly busy with them. I like to do some tinkering and love the Lego technique detail sets, which have functional gearboxes and engines that involve using the mind and the hands.

Where would you like to see yourself in the next few years?

I love working here but my ultimate aim would be to have my own space, with my own shop, my own workshop where I could be working alongside people on cars while at the same time teaching them and young enthusiasts about cars.

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