Collision Repair Industry – Tradeswomen


We don’t usually expect our Australian friends to be ahead in gender equality awareness but it appears they’ve beaten us to the punch in the collision repair industry. The industry website features a Women in Collision section that is currently featuring the annual awards. This initiative recognises collision repair industry women who are business owners, administrators, damage estimators, assessors and both collision repair technicians (panelbeaters) and paint refinishers (car painters).  See more at  We commend the initiative and the respect due to the small minority of women involved in the wider industry.  Hopefully the NZ Collision Repair Association (CRA) will follow suit soon.  Many women do work in the collision repair industry in NZ including apprentices and qualified technicians, and a few business owners.  Women have traditionally dominated in operations and administration in collision repair too though are often ‘back office’ and far from the lime-light.

The collision repair sector is in a challenging economic cycle currently.  Car accident claims and business levels have never been higher. The two main contributing factors are the significant increase in population and the explosion in the number of cars on our roads in recent years. This has combined with an acceleration in panel shop closures due to unsustainable low margins, and few new entries into the sector for the same reason.  This has naturally led to reduced training of young people at trade entry level and suppressed wages across the industry resulting in a labour exodus.  The recent increase in trade skilled immigrants is helping, and more women in the industry could also be the welcome boost the trade desperately needs.

4 Responses

  1. Suze
    | Reply

    Well done Panel & Paint magazine it’s great to FINALLY see more women featuring in the collision repair industry. Thanks for covering it Crash. We know your boss Karen was a leader in the trade years ago and had one of the big shops in Auckland so good to see the leadership carry on with support for the industry generally as well as for other women in panel & paint. Be keen to see more of our kiwi women profiled too!

    • Crash Management
      | Reply

      So would we Suze – send us your details, or any other women in the trade that you know of!

  2. Crash Management
    | Reply

    Thanks Rob, great feedback. We have to agree , Alex’ situation appears to be a sad commentary on the collision repair industry in New Zealand. We hear of a few women in apprenticeships, but the ratio’s tiny. Ditto the panel & paint trade generally in NZ. No doubt there’s much more than can be done to promote collision repair to young people – there’s such a clear and growing need for more qualified technicians, we’re told the recruitment battle is currently the biggest challenge. The Collision Repair Assoc seems to be very aware and along with MITO does have some good training & promotion initiatives underway. Hopefully more young women will be included in the apprenticeship intake going forward – we’ll just have to hope there are enough forward thinking employers out there to give them a chance?

    • Rob
      | Reply

      The Aussies have a dedicated awards programme for women working in the collision repair business. It’s about time New Zealand did the same! Come on Crash Management how about getting behind the panel and paint trade and supporting the women that keep the wheels turning – there are plenty to choose from! IAG sponsor the award in Aussie. Could Crash Management sponsor the award in NZ?
      Here’s a copy of the Paint & Panel article.
      Don’t forget we have a female tradesperson/estimator category. So far we only have two nominations in this category. Surprisingly these are for panel beaters rather than spray painters or estimators given that we haven’t encounters many female panel beaters. Nominations so far are for Leah Adamthwaite a panel beater from K&E.S Adamthwaite Crash Repairs in NSW and Perlita Puruto, apprentice panel beater at Workhorse Collision Repairs also in NSW.
      Are there no impressive women in other states working at the pointy end of the trade? We know there are, so get nominating folks. We’ve had two spray painting finalists in the past, Lauren Neil from David Hand Smash in ACT and Samantha Leonard from Forbes Smash in country NSW – and we know there are plenty of women preparing estimates around the country.
      We also haven’t had an nominations for parts managers and yet I’ve heard shop owners up and down the country praise their female parts managers – so get nominating at

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