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A 19-year-old girl and a large engine. It looks like they can meet at a photo shoot only. But Ilmira breaks the outdated bias by her own example. She can easily troubleshoot the engine of the large vehicle and win the WorldSkills Russia Award as a truck service expert.

Ilmira is a first-year student of Potashov Technical College in Naberezhnye Chelny studying under TEC (Technical Education for Communities) Project.  

We  tried to find out how Ilmira lives in the world of trucks, transmissions and electrics still known as the man’s world.

Where this sudden interest of a girl to vehicles’ repair comes from?

I don to know exactly… Just a desire. Really an aspiration for machines. Even in the school I loved a construction set most of all. I liked to play with it, making assemblies and structures. Sometimes my mother got me to her work. We usually took a quad bike. I really liked it. Then I began to wonder how this device works. It was just interesting to disassemble and assemble something.

Does it mean that you were inspired by machines in your childhood?

Exactly. When I was a little girl, I was not allowed to repair anything. When I asked, I was told that I was too young. But I thought to myself: "Just wait, when I grow up, I'll show what I'm capable of!" Graduating from the school, I selected qualification of an automotive technician. Now I can help not only my parents, but other people too.

But why exactly trucks and large vehicles?

To be fair, there is no other place I'd rather be. At first, I wanted to be a physician, but I changed my mind. I understood that the medicine was totally not for me. Then, just as many other girls, I wanted to go to the designer school. But then I lost interest and got bored.  In the end, I understood that really, I had a thing for technology and machines. And I was just offered to be trained as a mechanic.   I thought that I can give it a try. I like it and I'm good at it.

When I began to study, my wish to work in this field became stronger. I loved to study and wanted to work as a mechanic even more.

A girl being an engine technician! A girl repairing machines… Wasn't there a moment when whoever saw you told: "A girl… Well, what she can know? What she can do? It's not a woman business to repair machines"?

There was a case. But I belive that anyone may have his own opinion about it. A lot of people say that I'm a woman and I really can do nothing. And in the maentime, I won the WorldSkills Russia Award 2020 as a truck service expert. By the way, I overtook dozens of guys there! Some of them took part for the third or fourth time. And I was the first time there. And won!

Please, tell us more about the WorldSkills Russia Award contest.

It included several stages. The engine was the first one. It must be disassembled to remove and measure the pistons. And measuring requires accuracy, to a millimeter, literally. But many participants missed the point. Whereas I've done everything neatly and quickly, recording all data. Of course, I wanted to win, and I like to work with machines.

Then we proceeded to the transmission. We had to identify faults: missed or broken components, other diagnostics. But I have studied, was trained… Moreover, I like to work with machines. I began to disassemble the transmission and understood which parts were missed. I told experts what was missing and asked for relevant parts.

By the way, I have seen the KAMAZ truck on a tour only. Anyway, I know how it works. Electric devices and many more things. I didn't waste my time in the workshop in vain. And during the contest, I inspected everything and told experts what was right and what was not, completed all jobs. And experts assessed my knowledge and skills. Of course, I was glad.

And what do you want to do after the college?

I'd like to get higher education, most likely in a distant mode to be able to work at the same time.

How do you spend your free time?

It looks like I do not have it at all. I study, read books. Imagine, about what? Cars, trucks and various machines. How do they work, what must be done to repair them, what new products come into life, what innovations are used… Very fascinating. I could go on about this for hours. And yet, it is so large and fascinating world, where something interesting or useful happens every day. And I would not stop there.

And once again we're back at trucks.

Exactly. I like it much. Indeed, the most important thing in your career choice is to find the job you like that makes you feel good. Just as with me!