Phoenix apprentice mechanic breaking barriers in male-dominated field
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- A Valley woman who grew up riding motorbikes and quads has turned that passion for engines and mechanical work into a career. According to Zippia, only roughly 4% of all mechanics in the country are women. Now, she’s breaking into a field often dominated by men.
Rylee Lyttle has been an apprentice mechanic for just over a year. She’s received praise from her coworkers at Courtesy Chevrolet Autoshop in Phoenix — who are all men! “If you don’t mind getting dirty, that’s the number one step!” she said. “I was looking for something hands-on, where I could get my hands dirty, and no one would judge me.”
Billy Blandford is the shop foreman with Courtesy Chevrolet. He says the shop’s apprentice program takes about two years before a mechanic can work independently, but Lyttle is on the right track. “She is very talented at what she does. She’s a very fast learner, just picks everything up and goes with it,” he said.
Lyttle discovered the apprenticeship program after going to school at the Arizona Automotive Institute, which trains students for technical jobs in the real world. “I don’t like sitting down. I like moving somewhere, so I thought, ‘Hey, why don’t I find a job where I do everything I like?’ And auto technician is what I found to be best suited for me,” she explained. “I was in an engines class, brand new to the industry. They talked about it, and I fell in love.”
With her certification, the 23-year-old is now training to be a bumper-to-bumper technician. She’s learning about air conditioning, engines, transmissions, brakes and suspensions. “With being a girl, she is smaller. She can get into places most guys can’t; get stuff done the first time. It’s awesome to have her,” said Blandford. “She has the willingness to do it all. There’s no stopping her.”
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