As Imran Peerzada told Bibhabaree Biswal
On completion of my 10th examinations, I started working as a labour in a local garage as I was in need of money to support my family. After working for around 8 months, I came to know about Youth Empowerment at SKF (YES) program from a friend and I decided to visit the SKF YES centre at Don Bosco ITI campus in Chinchwad Pune. I never knew, this could change my life completely.
It was a complete educational centre with modern machineries, vehicle cut sections, tool boxes, equipped classrooms, labs, hostels and cafeteria. I was surprised to know that I can learn and use all these without any cost, as the program was completely sponsored by SKF. I met the faculties at Don Bosco, who guided me on the processes and the admission procedure. It was a great opportunity and I decided to grab it right there! I took admission into the 6 months garage mechanic course on the spot.
I was just a 10th pass young guy without any skills, this course helped me with the mechanical skills, trained me on the ways to interact with the customers and to balance between the job and customers to draw maximum benefits. Post completion of my training, I worked with Maruti Service centre for almost 8-10 months and then shifted to Hyundai Service centre for 6 months, where I learnt the way service centres are managed.
During my short stint with the service centres, I realised entrepreneurship is something that attracts me and the very fact that I will be able to work on my own timings and earn more than the regular salary kept me pushing beyond my limits.
One day I decided to discuss my plans with my family. I spoke to my Abba, about my dream of opening up my own garage. After working he was reluctant and was afraid of making the investments. So he denied. I went to YES centre and discussed with my mentors to find out a way. YES Program Manager – Mr. Pednekar and faculties from Don Bosco interacted with my family and they agreed.
My parents overcame their fear and supported me in every possible way to set up the garage. My dad even borrowed money from his friend to get the required materials. It was a great achievement for me. I was confident, yet anxious on my journey of entrepreneurship, but the support from my mentors helped me in achieving this feat.
Sometimes I do think, what would have happened if I would have joined my friends to work in air conditioned shopping malls with good salaries. I might have earned initially, but would that have stayed with me in the long run. My decision of learning a skill, that will stay with me throughout my life and will grow with time was right and has made me confident, job ready and earning.
Its little over a month now and I am earning close to my last drawn salary, I have done a proper planning on the Return on Investments and have backed up my finances for next 4-6 months, till the time I settle down and my garage is known to the people nearby.
While setting up the garage, I realised the AC gas charging machine is expensive and out of my reach, but I knew without it I will not be able to work. So I decided to understand its anatomy and then build it on my own with almost 1/10th of the total expenses. It helps me for AC Gas checking, vacuum, cleaning and more.
Now when I look back, I feel happy that I have come a long way. From a time bound labour, with a fix income to an independent mechanic with flexible work timings.
My Abba, who has worked as a garage mechanic throughout his life, understands my job well and supports me in every step. He always wanted to have a own garage, having me set it up, he is happy and wants me to succeed in this journey.
My parents are happy and so am I. Now it’s the time to go that extra mile to establish my garage and expand it to a full fledged workstation.
(Imran Peerzada is a SKF YES alumni and recently turned entrepreneur is all set to take the big leap in the automobile servicing industry.) Bibhabaree Biswal is communication officer at SKF India.