Auto Service World
News   April 15, 2014   by CARS Magazine

Automotive Industry Breakfast at NAIT

The March 12 industry breakfast at NAIT was well worth the time commitment by those that attended. The participants numbered about 68 and I am pleased to say that 32 of those came from the aftermarket while about 44 form the motor dealers. I...


The March 12 industry breakfast at NAIT was well worth the time commitment by those that attended. The participants numbered about 68 and I am pleased to say that 32 of those came from the aftermarket while about 44 form the motor dealers. I consider this a good showing by the independents and I would say some very intelligent questions and observations but forward by us.

 It was encouraging to hear that the Automotive Department at Nait is aware of the obstacles that our industry faces as we look to increase the number of apprentices entering and saying in the industry. It was pointed out that of the apprentices enrolling in automotive, some 20 per cent would sign up out of high school and of the rest the average age is 25. In Edmonton, there were once 14 high schools with an automotive shop classes; however, there is now only eight such schools. When industry events are planned and guidance counselors from high schools are invited only the few that are already on side with the trade show up and the ones that need to come tend to not show up.

Some of the solutions being suggested are that NAIT begin a program of certification for shop teachers enabling them to get the same pay as other teachers and give the trade a higher level of respect. Work with government has begun to reintroduce trade classes into the high schools. Trades are becoming much more popular again and NAIT is implementing huge expansion plans.

The bottom line is still the same. We need more apprentices to enter our industry to compensate for the high number of retirees. For us to fill our bays we need to indenture more apprentices in our independent shops. I know most of you do but spread the word to any of your friends in other independent shops.

NAIT Breakfast Feedback 

  • There is a lack of competent Techs and Apprentices

  • Managers need some training on how to manage apprentices

  • Industry does not know the content or goals of each period of training.

  • Dr. Feltham needs to find a different way to describe the trades other than people wanting to use their hands. Industry needs thinkers

  • We need to have Government and School boards focus more on Trade type programs and Careers

  • How do we build on today’s gathering?

  • There is a lack of basic knowledge from Techs currently in the field.

  • Need to stress that future techs need higher levels of Math and Science for Automotive Service Technician.

  • Correct the notion by High Schools that Trades and AST are for the slower or non-academic type student.

  • Need more time for round table discussion

  • Would like more information on how the institution and classes work. More time on diagnosis and less on R & R.

  • Provide more information on Pre-Employment AST and how it works

  • Make sure to not single out one donor

  • Work to change the image of AST and technician jobs

  • Foster better communication between NAIT and the High Schools

  • More Meetings with High Scholl Counsellors

  • Provide the schools with more information on the complexity of today’s vehicles

  • Get students interested in AST earlier. Grade 8 and 9

  • Look at a two tier Technician system. Diagnostic and R & R

  • Schedule another breakfast and invite guidance counselors from the High Schools

  • Look at introducing incentives for apprentices completing their Apprenticeship

  • Need more people form Industry talking to schools about careers in the Automotive Industry?

  • It is a financial hardship for Apprentices to attend school

  • Look at deferred pay plans for Apprentices to allow them to be paid while at school

  • Implement journeyman update courses

  • Dealerships and shops do not see the AIT Consultant enough

  • NAIT instructors to work with the existing High School Mechanics programs

  • Use a number of different scanners in our diagnostic training

  • Management/parts/ inventory control courses for small automotive repair shop owners

  • Cross train AST students in the Parts program

  • The program needs to work to keep current with changes to vehicles.

  • Grade 12 needs to be the minimum requirement for AST. Grade 10 is not good enough

  • Continue to try and have ongoing dialogue with NAIT and the Auto businesses.

  • High Tech Vehicles versus a low tech curriculum

  • How can industry get involved.


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