A big part of promoting the trades to more young people is to ensure they hear about them and the opportunities they offer. With the decrease of high school tech departments and an outdated perception of the trades by some teachers and counselors, getting the word out can be a big challenge!
One of the best ways to excite young people about working in the repair and service industry is to show them the industry – first hand. Young people need to see for themselves what the workplace looks like and what happens after the family vehicle has been dropped off for service. They need to see the skills and tools the technician uses to do his/her job.
Some of the easiest ways to present the industry to young people, teachers, and parents is through field trips, open houses, or job shadowing experiences. Presentations made at school career days are also worthwhile. However, to improve the existing perceptions of young people – and adults – the best place to start is in the workplace!
To make this process easier, CARS is developing an Industry Guide to provide information and sample activities that could be used by employers when planning activities such as field trips, open houses and tours. The goal is to make the Guide an easy to use and effective resource for industry. Sample presentations are being included as well as activities to get the audience involved. There are also suggestions of how to incorporate other materials from the career information suite into the workplace, such as the customer waiting area. For example, the industry organizational chart and the poster could be displayed to reinforce the message of how vast the industry is and the professionals it takes to keep it all on track.
A similar guide is being developed for teachers and counselors to provide them with accurate information about industry occupations and sample lesson plans, linked to curriculum, to bring the information into the classroom. Students often wonder, “Why do I need to learn this?” when presented with a new math concept, for example. The Classroom Guide will help to provide sample activities to illustrate how school subjects are applied in a repair and service work setting. Workplace visits have also been suggested in the teacher/counselor materials to further encourage the connection between schools and industry.
CARS is currently conducting focus groups with employers across Canada to ensure the Guide addresses their needs and provides information that will be useful. To-date, employers have been very pleased with the resource and have made some very useful suggestions on areas where it could be improved to better serve their needs.
The CARS Career Information Suite, which is now under development, is geared to young people in grades 8 and 9. Although no one is making specific career choices at this age, they are making choices about what courses they will take in high school and what options are available to them. Accurate information will not only help them with their choices but will also communicate a positive image of the industry. By educating young people about the repair and service industry, they will have a better understanding of the skills and training required and a respect for those working in the industry – even if they eventually choose to pursue a career elsewhere.
The CARS Career Information Suite includes a reference guide that details 45 technical and non-technical repair and service occupations, a poster, web site, CD-ROM, Classroom Guide and Industry Guide. The final product will be produced in French and English.
For further information, please call CARS (613) 798-0500.