From Mischief to Mechanics
An ambitious teen has ditched a life of mayhem and mischief to focus on her future.
Just a few years ago Jenny Sweeny’s life was spiralling out of control, she was taking drugs,
playing truant from school and arguing daily with her mum.
But now thanks to a Wigan work and training based initiative the 16-year-old has discovered a passion for car mechanics and is now well on her way to a bright career.
She said: “At the age of 13 I was smoking weed, skipping school, threatening teachers and fighting with my mum. “I was disrespectful and disruptive and it was getting worse.” Jenny’s bad behaviour had continued for about four years until the school could no longer cope and she was permanently excluded.
She said: “By that point my relationship with my mum was at breaking point. “She was getting called into
school all the time because of my bad behaviour. It put a massive strain on our relationship and she threatened to send me to Scotland to live with my real dad, which I didn’t want.
“Eventually I had to move out and live with my step-dad.” Jenny was sent to the Acorns Pupil Referral Unit in Ormskirk for the last year of her education where she had the chance to make a real change.
At the school Jenny expressed an interest in the Fix It Project, a Spring View-based charitable organisation which works with young people from 14 to 25. Fix It delivers courses in motor vehicle studies with a focus on encouraging personal development.
These days the Skelmersdale teen spends most her time underneath a car bonnet fixing cars and is delighted that she found the scheme.
She said: “I’ve had a passion for cars from a young age, but being a girl I never thought that I could actually become a mechanic because you only ever see boys doing it. “I’m now completing an IMI Diploma course two days a week and doing something that I love.” Her trainer, Chris Jordan, said: “Jenny’s willingness to learn on the course has made everyone at Fix It very proud of her, she has developed new skills and improved her communication skills so that she is now able to avoid conflict in challenging situations.”
And the teen is doing so well at Fix It that she has been rewarded with an extra day there where she is able to act as a positive role model for her peers and is trusted to help the trainers deliver their sessions. She said: “I don’t feel that everyone and everything is against me any more. Being at Fix It and finding new friends has really helped me. “I want to get my certificate and show it to my old headmaster to prove to him that I can make something of myself.”
Jenny is now living back at home and working on improving her relationship with her mum.
Fix It, based in Moss Street, offers MOTs, servicing, bodywork repairs and resprays to the general public. Work is undertaken by fully qualified mechanics at discounted rates and profits are returned to the charity to fund the delivery of training to young people.