Rachel Murray, AKA Paint By Rach, is a woman on a mission when it comes to raising the female profile in the bodyshop.


How did you kickstart your automotive career?

It all started when I was 17. I crashed my dad’s car around three weeks after I passed my driving test and ended up getting a work experience gig at the bodyshop that fixed the car. They put a spray gun in my hand to paint a set of tractor wheels on my first day and I haven’t looked back. I then went on to carry out my apprenticeship with Riverpark Training and Development and Charles Hurst Accident Repair Centre and finally went self employed as a freelance spray painter under the name of ‘Paint by Rach’ in December 2018.

Since then, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind. I’ve learned how to do basic panel repair, glue pulling, airbrushing, I’ve done paintwork on the Seven Sins; a 52m super yacht in Italy, I’ve done technical training with paint companies in England and Slovenia, been to Red Bull F1 HQ, and even been to Monaco to speak on stage and then again with Louise Baker from Womanic Ltd in our Royal Magenta Rover 216 cabriolet for the 2022 Bangers4BEN charity rally.


How do you think the industry needs to change and how are you helping with the shift?

I really love the industry and I’ve gained so much experience both professionally in my career and personally being involved in it. Believe it or not I was super shy before joining the automotive industry and it’s safe to say it’s brought me out of my shell and really helped me grow as a person.

If I could change one thing about the industry, it would be the stigma from the general public about how there’s no real opportunities in automotive when there are literally endless possibilities!

I’d also love to see technicians be better financially rewarded for the massive skill required to work on vehicles and keep up with all these new and up and coming technologies. I have been involved in careers talks and fairs in schools/colleges/universities, both on my own and with Riverpark Training, promoting careers in automotive and the endless opportunities available to the next generation. I’ve helped with local organisations such as WomensTEC with their #notjustforboys movement, showing that automotive is no longer male dominated and girls and women have every opportunity to do well within the industry.

I’ve also been super fortunate to become an End Point Assessor for the IMI allowing me to be hands-on with actually bringing the next generation forward into their careers in the industry. The only way we can break the stigma is by educating the general public on just what is involved and what is available.


What are your plans for the future?

In the short-term, I’m looking at doing the electric/hybrid vehicle qualification and hope to soon open my own bodyshop; fully immersing myself in showing what hard work in the industry creates. Long-term, I’d love to do some sort of apprenticeship programme focused on giving the next-generation of technicians solid groundwork in order to succeed in the industry and really allow them the time they individually need to become the best techs they can be. Saying this, plans change and who knows what I could be doing in the future. All I know for sure is, I will remain within automotive.


What advice would you give to anyone looking to join the industry?

Do it and don’t look back. Automotive is very much the kind of career that what you put in is what you get out. At times, it can be very difficult and often requires a lot of work, but it’s super rewarding. Getting hands-on work experience, even for a few Saturdays before going for your apprenticeship, really puts you in a great starting place. Naturally, I’m going to recommend going down the refinishing route but if that’s not your thing, there are plenty of other routes to go down.

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