Artyom Paytyan decided to turn his passion for cars into a career. The seventeen-year-old is on the path to becoming a certified mechanic at Abovyan Vocational Training College in Kotayk Province.

“I didn’t do well at school, but I still decided on a field that I’m passionate about,” he said, recalling how as a child he would frequently disassemble spare machine parts and then put them back together.

Artyom said he will follow in the footsteps of his 65-year-old grandfather, Hrach, who has been repairing cars for the past 42 years in his small village of Norashen in the Berd Region. He also still helps out his grandfather, which has become a sort of informal apprenticeship.

“When he is into repairing a car, Artyom may even refuse to stop and eat,” said Artyom’s grandmother, Asya. “We grow potatoes, beans, corn and wheat, but the climate is not on always our side. We can have a good harvest one year and a bad harvest for the next two or three. That’s why I don’t blame him for his passion for cars. It can lead to a good, stable career.”

Artyom was only six months old and his older brother Styopa just four when their father, Armen, died during an accident while cutting down a tree. He was just 24 years old.

After the tragedy, their mother, Liana, couldn’t take care of the boys alone so they moved in with their grandparents. Since 2012, Artyom has received support from FAR’s Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP). Since Artyom soon turns 18, this will be the last year he will receive financial support through the program.

Once he graduates and becomes a licensed electro-mechanic, Artyom plans to open his own auto repair shop in Norashen. “I love this village,” said Artyom, who also wishes to remain with his grandparents.

For the past few years he has been saving the money from his CASP stipend to be able to buy the basic tools and equipment he needs for it. When he was younger, his family would use his stipend to buy clothing and firewood.