Auto Service World
Feature   August 1, 2002   by CARS Magazine

Tapping Into Young Talent

What better way to introduce young people to career opportunities in the repair and service industry than to give them an exciting and competitive experience to test their skills!Young people from eve...

What better way to introduce young people to career opportunities in the repair and service industry than to give them an exciting and competitive experience to test their skills!

Young people from every province and territory recently had this chance at the 8th Annual Canadian Skills Competition, held in Vancouver’s BC Place. Competitions were held in approximately 37 trade areas including Autobody Repair and Automotive Service. It was evident from the first day of competition that these young people ‘knew their stuff’!

Not only did the competition provide an opportunity for young people to measure up their skills to their peers but also provided a chance for the winners to get a place on the Canadian team traveling to St. Gallen Switzerland in 2003 to compete in the world competition. What a great opportunity for talented young Canadians. The important thing to remember is that it all began by having an opportunity to have a hands-on learning experience.

CARS participated at the Skills Competition “Pathways to Careers” showcase to provide students, teachers, counsellors, and parents with information about repair and service careers and the skills and training employees need to stay on top of the constantly evolving technology. Hundreds of students from schools in British Columbia were bused to BC Place so they could watch the competitors and attend the Pathways to Careers showcase to ask questions and obtain information about careers in the trades.

CARS has developed career information on 45 careers in the repair and service industry and is now working with each province and territory to ensure the information is distributed to schools and to develop strategies to promote the use of the materials. However, increasing the awareness of students, teachers and counsellors of the industry is only part of the equation.

Apprenticeship, youth apprenticeship and co-op programs all provide excellent opportunities for young people to see how what they are learning can be applied in a workplace setting. This makes their learning much more tangible and, just as important, provides youth with an opportunity to begin a future career.

We’re all aware that a significant portion of the current workforce will be retiring over the next few years. What industry can do is to provide opportunities to tap into young talent and provide them with an opportunity to apply their learning and to experience the workplace first-hand. Many industries in Canada are facing the same workforce dilemma so it is important that students are aware of repair and service career options and that they have a chance to benefit from a positive workplace learning experience.

The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum held their first national conference in Vancouver, following the Canadian Skills Competition and provided a forum to discuss apprenticeship issues including the need to promote careers in the trades as a first choice. CARS partnered with the Canada Career Consortium to provide a presentation to conference delegates to let them know about the exciting new career awareness resources that have been developed for the repair and service industry. Several other trades have already or are in the process of developing career awareness strategies to promote the trades.

One important resource CARS has developed is an Industry Presentation Guide. The Guide includes information on how to prepare and provide a presentation to students. It also provides information on various ways to promote the industry, including co-op opportunities, displays and demonstrations. The web site includes MS PowerPoint slides that can be downloaded and used as part of a presentation. Presentations to students and educators not only help to increase career awareness but can also increase your business’ profile in the community! The information is available in both French and English through the web site, Check out the “For Industry” section of the site for this presentation information.

There are lots of positive steps being taken to attract youth to our industry and ensure employers have a skilled future workforce. What steps have you taken?

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