Abi had some injuries that meant she had to revise her career path as an auto-mechanic. It involved a period of unemployment and it hasn’t been a straightforward process to get back into work.
Abi is managing disabilities from those past injuries and has had to explain the gap in her resume many times. But that wasn’t all that potential employers wanted her to explain. In Abi’s experience ‘a lot of people hold prejudice about the way queer people present themselves’.
A stand out attitude and aptitude
According to our Head Mechanic, Mike Dann, attitude and aptitude stood out in Abi.
‘She is a fast learner and quick to pick up on how things are done in the shop by watching the other staff members. She’s proactive about learning new skills and doing research on new products’.
Abi is modest about her skills. She says she comes from a ‘bike family’. She finds it rewarding to work on a range of different bikes and to try new jobs. ‘I like problem-solving a lot so when I solve a problem with a bike and a customer is happy that it’s fixed, it makes me feel great’.
Mike takes a lot of care in training mechanics. He says the variety of jobs trainees get to do is important. ‘We have simple to complex repair jobs coming in, but we also expect employees to sell bikes and provide guidance to customers. The variety means employees like Abi can put a lot in their CV’.
‘With someone like Abi, who picks things up fast, I will do a quick demo, maybe provide a technical guide online and then let them do it themselves, rather than helicopter them. It is important to have some time to do new jobs and figure out how it all works in your own time rather than someone over your shoulder pointing everything out.’
Abi is currently doing internal cable routing. With skills she already knows, she’s getting more confident, faster, and efficient. She is also honing her skills talking to customers: explaining mechanical concepts to customers with less bicycle know-how, and giving a clear reason why something needs to be replaced or repaired.
Social and professional connections
Building social networks and professional connections is also part of the experience at Good Cycles. Abi says, ‘I’ve met people through Good Cycle’s social events. Those events have been awesome to connect, and that’s what I look forward to post lockdown’.
‘Honestly it’s the best job I’ve had and Mike is the best supervisor I’ve ever had’.
Mike sees Abi rapidly expanding her mechanical repertoire and selling high value items in the shop. ‘I can see her in a permanent job as a bike mechanic in a shop, for sure’.