Welsh woman teaches Saudi women to be driving instructors

image copyrightSusan Newbon
image captionSusan Newbon, left, was selected along with two other women to train female driving instructors

A Welsh woman has been chosen to be part of the international team training the first female driving instructors in Saudi Arabia.

Susan Newbon, Canadian Deborah Sherwood and American Norma Adrianzen will be able to train women from 24 June.

They will work as "senior assessors" for up to two years, training new examiners and instructors.

Mrs Newbon, 56, from Llantwit Major in Vale of Glamorgan, said "it's going to change their lives completely".

Previously, only men could obtain driving licences and if a woman was caught driving in public, she risked receiving a fine or being arrested.

Starting preparation for her new job on 1 April, Mrs Newbon was flown out to Bahrain while she waited for her visa to be approved and was then driven into Saudi Arabia to develop a driving school.

image copyrightSusan Newbon
image captionMrs Newbon said about 1,500 applied for the three jobs in Saudi Arabia

"I wanted to do this because I want to see other women achieve," she said.

"I was initially nervous about going to the country, however my fears couldn't be further from the truth.

"It's been a rollercoaster, being in Saudi Arabia is totally different to what I expected, the people are so welcoming."

She said about 1,500 people applied for the three jobs, adding: "I had never written a CV before because I had been self-employed all my life."

image copyrightSusan Newbon
image captionSusan Newbon said she "wanted to see other women achieve"

Mrs Newborn began her career as a driving instructor in Germany in 1987, but returned to the UK in 1993 to set up her driving school.

She said some Saudi Arabian women had travelled to other countries in the region to get their driving licences and experience in preparation for the team's arrival.

"After spending the last few weeks with the ladies, and learning about their culture and how not being able to drive has impacted their everyday lives, it is a real honour and privilege to be part of the changes.

"There are a lot of very excited ladies over here who can't wait to get in the driving seat."

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