A teenage girl who rejected hairdressing as a career is now making plans to open a garage aimed at women customers after starting a mechanical engineering course.
Aisha Javid (17), started a Certificate in Vehicle Maintenance Level 1 at Uxbridge College in September and is already making plans to run her own business.
She said: "My aim is to open my own garage, mainly for women. I know a lot of women are afraid of getting ripped off in a garage because they don't understand what's being done with their cars. I would explain it in the girls' way."
Aisha, of Hayes, learned hairdressing skills through her aunts and worked part-time in salons including Nina's in Southall, and Looking Foxy in Hayes, but decided it was not for her.
She also started A-level studies at school, but decided she had had enough of book learning and wanted to do something more practical.
After looking into courses at the College, she eventually applied for the Level 1 course and is enjoying it so much she has decided she wants to eventually start her own business.
She said: "I'm a really girly girl, not a tomboy or anything. I didn't want to be just a mechanic who worked for someone else all my life - I wanted to know that maybe I could work for myself. I also have a real interest in business.
"I don't really see it as a problem that it is mostly men in the industry. No one has treated me any differently and I have never felt any different from anyone else."
In order to learn enough to open her own garage, she is considering further study through an Apprenticeship and already has provisional offers from several car manufacturing firms.
Russell Grove, motor vehicle mechanics lecturer, said: "I think Aisha could have a great business idea there and with her commitment and enthusiasm there is no doubt she will go far in whatever she chooses to do. While we still get more men than women on vehicle mechanics courses here, interest in this area from females is growing. We are delighted to be able to offer state-of-the-art facilities and years of industry expertise in training the mechanics of the future of either gender."