Celebrating Our Industry’s Women

With International Women’s Day on March 8, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about the topic of women in the automotive aftermarket industry, and, in particular, the huge opportunity we have to embrace diversity and benefit from a wider and richer span of experience and skills.

A recent report by the Mining and Automotive Skills Alliance, titled Initial Workforce Plan, outlines that women currently represent 20 percent of the automotive workforce, compared to 47.9 percent across all industries in Australia.

It is even more disturbing when you look at automotive and engineering trade workers, where women make up a meager 2.6 percent of that workforce.

Sadly, recent projections of new female talent coming into the automotive mechanical workforce are also low.

According to the aforementioned report, women represent just 4.5 percent of enrolments in Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology and 13.2 percent in Certificate II in Automotive Vocational Preparation.

This presents a huge opportunity to help solve another major issue facing our industry sector – skills shortages!

AAAA’s own recent research has found the industry is short of almost 40,000 technicians: 27,000 qualified technicians and 13,500 apprentices. This figure represents almost one technician per workshop in Australia and one apprentice for every second workshop
Imagine if we could increase the number of young women who aspire to join the automotive mechanical service and repair industry?

Even a small increase in the percentage of young women wanting to train and remain in the industry could move the needle significantly on the skills shortages that we currently face.

Last year, the AAAA completed research into women auto apprenticeships to better understand their experiences. This is seriously good ‘intel’ that we can use to keep women engaged and attract others.
There is little doubt we need to be better at educating women about the benefits of joining our industry and setting up initiatives to openly encourage them that our industry is a good place for a career.
Marian Wright Edelman was the first to coin the phrase ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’. It has become an important mantra, and it provides a direction for action.

If we are to see change, we must find ways to highlight women’s achievements, give opportunities to excel, and find ways to recognise contributions. We can and should showcase the women in our industry in order to encourage others to join.

Australian Automotive Aftermarket Magazine often highlights the achievements of the extremely talented women in our industry. For example, this edition features one of our own board members, Collette Kirby, in her role as Chief Executive Officer of Logicar Australia.

For the first time at the upcoming Australian Auto Aftermarket Excellence Awards Banquet – to be held at the Crown Palladium on April 11 – we will also be presenting a Women at the Wheel Award.
This award recognises a woman who, through their success in the automotive industry, is a role model and inspiration to others, and who, in their role and professional activities is committed to supporting the advancement of women in the industry.

The AAAA is also currently working with our larger member groups on a major event for women in automotive, which will take place on International Women’s Day. For more information on this event please keep an eye on

While it may sound dramatic, increasing the number of women in our industry is not a luxury, it is paramount for the very survival and continued success of the sector. And it is extremely achievable – I am looking forward to working with you, the AAAA members, to make it happen.

If you have any ideas or are just looking for information or advice, please do not hesitate to email me at

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