The automotive aftermarket is using the “cool” factor of vehicle technology and electrification as part of the sales pitch to draw in future technicians.
But, a shop owner reminded attendees, internal combustion engine vehicles will be on our roads for years to come and new technicians need to know how to work with the older technology.
“I see a challenge between embracing the newer technology that’s coming out and still maintaining the older technology,” Darryl Croft, co-owner and vice president of OK Tire (Etobicoke), said as part of a panel at Centennial College’s Driving the Future 2.0 event in March in Toronto.
“The younger students coming out of this college are really excited with the latest greatest and they want to learn all about the new EVs, which is great,” he added. “But gas and diesel will still be on the roads for years to come. And you got to manage their psychological willingness to still maintain that stuff and believe in the future in training.”
Still, the biggest challenge for everyone on the panel was attracting and retaining talent. Stephen Kingswell, area maintenance manager for Canada at Penske, noted that going into the trades isn’t something parents steer their kids towards like they used to. So it’s on the trades to get in front of young people to show them what the trades are like.
Especially in the automotive trades, there will likely be areas in which future techs can specialize. There are already gas and diesel, and the future will bring opportunities to focus on hydrogen and electric vehicles.
“I believe that if we go in and we show what the benefits are in the trades, I think there’s a lot of financial benefit for them in the future because it will be one of those things that they will have to be a little more focused on what they do,” Kingswell said. “Every one of those [areas] are probably going to have to have a separate kind of trade for how we work on models that are going to have to be a specialized individual to be able to hone in on that expertise.
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