PMM’s Freya Coleman caught up with Operations Director of Courtwood Car Services and founder of the Pink Garage Company Randeep Reehal.
Coming from a South Asian Sikh background and being female, Randeep was encouraged into a traditional job and so went on to study business and German at university. But, from a young age she’d always loved being in the garage with her dad. Watching him work, observing how he interacts with costumers and learning to understand cars. Upon completing her degree, Randeep decided to take up a summer job at her father’s workshop after working there part-time previously, soon deciding to stay.
She pushed herself to learn about car repair so she was able to talk to customers and provide them a good service. The fact that it was her dad’s garage gave her a catalyst to learn – not just for recognition but because Randeep wanted her family business to continue to thrive. Now, 20 years later, she has built credible relationships with clients, local businesses and with the community, learning to liase with suppliers along with customers. Randeep is now the Operations Director at this garage, Courtwood Car Services.
The Pink Garage Company
Along the way Randeep noticed a huge gap in the motor trade – there are not enough women. She also observed a gap between female motorists and the garage and so developed the concept of The Pink Garage. Over the years she realised that women will bend over backwards and go the extra mile when given the opportunity to come into the trade, wanting to prove themselves. Randeep also commented on how women in the trade are too quiet – recognising these women is one of the purposes of The Pink Garage. Also with the aim to empower these female technicians and to make future generations aware of the ample opportunity for them in the automotive sector.
Her career and being the founder of The Pink Garage Company has allowed Randeep to encourage women into the trade, currently training two women part time. One of these women is a mum of three children who has always wanted to be mechanic but has never been given the opportunity. She comes in for training at 9 and leaves at 1 and whilst it is going to take her a little longer, every training session she walks away on a high and thankful for the opportunity. Randeep wants to collaborate with more women to create awareness of the work that goes in to being a woman in the automotive trade and encouraging other women to join, as there is only so much she can do by herself.
Seeing as the lack of women in the trade is such a deep rooted issue, the first thing Randeep is doing now talking to schools and actually giving young women the awareness that they can come into the trade. She believes that if colleges did that then it would be a start. Career counsellors are also often unaware of the the amount of opportunities in the trade, and so this misinformation needs to change. She argued that garages should be made aware that building relationships with your local secondary school can be beneficial. This communication would go a long way in changing the stereotype of mechanics and boosting more women to enter the automotive sector.
Randeep finished with a plea for “any hands on woman reading this article please reach out to me and let’s work together and encourage more women into the trade. I think that alone, we’re so good at networking and encouraging each other that we can make this happen”