Given that it is a male dominated industry, it is no surprise that the vast majority of VISTA participants are men. But this is slowly changing and more and more women are getting involved. Next week’s world final will see more women competing than ever before.
Only six per cent of participants in VISTA 2015-2016 were women – which reflects the reality of most workshops across the world. However it is an increase on previous competitions, and this year four women will compete among the best workshop personnel in the world: Linda Casey from Australia, Vicky Chen from Taiwan, Rita Moschetti from Italy and Natalia Aparecida de Gaspri Silva from Brazil.
In fact for Linda Casey, this will be her second world final, after qualifying in 2010-2011. “You always learn so much in these competitions whether it be more about your own role or your work colleagues’ roles, and working as a team and meeting so many great people along the way.”
Linda’s team, Barra’s, are based at the VCV Townsville dealership in northern Australia. She has worked in the transport industry since leaving school, and her expertise and experience make her an invaluable part of her VISTA team.
“I’m responsible for the warranty/administration questions for our team. I work with our parts person to answer those questions and once thoroughly finished on our side we then go and help our technicians – whether it be passing them tools, reading and re-reading the instructions or just helping them with whatever they need – we work very well together and teamwork is upmost.”
Natalia Aparecida de Gaspri Silva, who works at Auto Sueco in Sao Paulo, Brazil, has found it tough to work in a male-dominated environment, but has refused to let it deter her. “Being a woman in a workshop is not an easy job, because there is still a lot of prejudice about women working in ‘male jobs’,” she says. “But it is important to have women in the workshop, and continuing to prove that we can do everything with perfection. We need to break this taboo, and aim for equality in whatever profession.”
Reaching the VISTA world final with her team will also go along way towards acceptance. “VISTA has helped me to increase my technical experience, to broaden my experience of the difficulties and challenges faced daily in the workshop and further enhances the importance of teamwork.”
“I’d encourage all ladies to give VISTA a go if you have the opportunity,” adds Linda Casey. “It’s a very worthwhile experience. You create your team, you work together, help each other out and it’s all about learning and working together. It’s so rewarding just to do the competition. If you get as far as we did it’s a bonus. But even if you don’t, I guarantee that you and your dealership will be richer for it.”