Female mechanic overcomes discrimination and thrives at Nissan dealership

With over 90% of vehicle mechanics in the UK being men – Shanice Murray 22 from Seskinore, Northern Ireland is helping to break stereotypes and is an award-winning apprentice technician for the Pat Kirk Nissan dealership in Northern Ireland

Shanice Murray grew up having a strong passion for cars. She said, “I was always interested in cars and rallying, but when my car broke down a few times and I couldn’t fix it myself, I started to consider learning about the mechanical side of things. South West College in Omagh was the best place for me to do that.”

Unfortunately, it hasn’t always been plain sailing for Shanice, she did not always receive the support she deserved or needed.

“Before coming to Pat Kirk Nissan, I’d had a disappointing experience at a previous workplace where the owner told me to come out of the garage, go up to the valeting bay and leave the work to the lads. It was insulting. I went home and cried. It made me feel low, and I felt discriminated against.”“I wondered whether I should quit the trade. I questioned whether I should be in this industry if this were how things would go.”

However, Shanice used this negative experience to fuel her motivation to succeed and help combat this problem within the industry - in 2023, following the successful completion of her level 3 light vehicle and repair course, Shanice won the apprentice of the year Achievement Award from her college.

On receiving her award Shanice was shocked.

“I actually asked the tutor if I was getting special treatment because I was female, and he assured me it was definitely not because of my gender, but because of the quality of my work and my dedication.”“I recently got the opportunity to get a job at Pat Kirk Nissan and I’m really enjoying it. I feel part of a team here as they respect me, and they see me as a mechanic. I want to work my way up the franchise and become a master tech.”

Liam Lynch, Nissan Service Manager at Pat Kirk said, “Regardless of gender, I employed Shanice as a technician because she was the best candidate, and I have no regrets.”

Shanice goes on to say, “I think the involvement of women in automotive repair and maintenance is going to increase and it’s great to see. One day I’d love to become a lecturer in the field and use my influence to be instrumental and inspire more women who have the interest to pursue their passion”.

She also encourages other young women who have an interest in vehicle work to explore the options available to them by visiting local colleges that run vehicle related courses. “I found that by following my initial passions for cars and car maintenance, a variety of pathways have opened up for me. I’d certainly recommend anyone who shares those interests to see what is on offer to them.”