We’re pleased to see the significant profile showcasing women in the panelbeating and car painting trades in the current Collision Repair Assoc mag PanelTalk. We’ve featured women in the collision repair trades before, most recently at http://crashmanagement.nz/collision-repair-industry-tradeswomen/ but women are still woefully under-represented in the trade and the issue warrants much more profile.
PanelTalk comments that more young women are finally choosing to enter what has always been a very male dominated sector. We certainly commend those women on their career choice, and the business owners for broadening their thinking and spotting a valuable employee when they see one. PanelTalk also profiled some of these employers including Porirua Auto Body Repairs who now have a 40% female staff led by co-owner Wendy Arnold-Mackie who heads the paint shop. Wendy’s team includes adult apprentice Tatiana Massey who is already a qualified auto mechanic, and Melissa Fitt, a trainee panelbeater. Queenstown Panelbeaters is also featured, with a unique claim to having their paint refinishing section fully staffed by female apprentices and trades-women. Both business comment that their women are highly skilled and motivated, and that the improved gender balance has had an enormously positive effect on the wider business culture. Many panelbeating and car painting businesses are owned and/or operated by women with great success too. Annette Gibson was profiled in PanelTalk and runs CE Spray Collision Repairs in Masterton, which is owned by Helen Mathewson. Annette recently won a MITO Business Skills Scholarship and is now completing her National Certificate in Business level 4.
The Motor Industry Training Organisation (MITO) recently ran road-show promotions throughout the country that attracted wide interest from young women interested in a career path in the automotive trades. MITO is lead by a women, CEO Janet Lane, and the promotional tour was lead by MITO’s Strategic Communications Manager Rachael Dippie. PanelTalk said that feedback from the tours indicated that perceptions of the panelbeating and car painting industry were changing radically. Both the students and career advisers attending, all discovered that the industry is a lot more technically advanced than they realised. The tours also highlighted that gender is no barrier to work that has transitioned over recent decades from heavy dirty manual labour, to much more sophisticated technician grade work that requires a scientific approach and a high level of intelligence. Many female students attended and PanelTalk included a brief interview with 17yr old Brandi Harrison from Kelston Girls High who now has her eyes firmly fixed on a diesel mechanic apprenticeship. We wish Brandi and all those other young women every success in their employment search, and a bright & rewarding career in panelbeating and car painting or the wider automotive trades!
NOTE: the image shows Reanna McGreevey, a 21yr old panelbeater