The Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA Canada), in partnership with the Government of Ontario, St. Lawrence College, Conestoga College, Fanshawe College, and Plug ‘N Drive, have launched a new auto care industry training program to help address the industry’s workforce development challenges.
Made possible through the third round of the Ontario Government’s Skills Development Fund, the Innovation in Automotive Training project will build on the success of round two and has been expanded to include new partners, training locations, and curriculum.
The fund is used to relieve pandemic-induced barriers through projects that hire, train, and retain workers. Approved projects “will enable market-driven solutions and unlock the economic potential of skilled trades and broader workforce development initiatives to facilitate the province’s economic recovery,” according to the fund’s website.
The goal of the Innovation in Automotive Training project is to address two challenges facing Ontario’s auto care industry: a shortage of automotive tradespeople — in part due to the stigma associated with automotive trade careers — and the need for automotive tradespeople to be upskilled so that they can service modern cars, including electric vehicles (EVs), an AIA Canada news release states.
The skills shortage is a consequence of modern vehicle technology changing the cars that we drive so to diagnose and repair modern cars, automotive tradespeople working at independent auto care shops need new skills, AIA Canada says.
“Getting working automotive tradespeople the skills that they need and getting more people into the automotive trades is essential,” said Jean-François Champagne, AIA Canada president. “Without, car owners across Ontario, particularly those in small and remote communities, will have less access to, and will pay more for, essential auto care.”
The two training programs will include an EV, hybrid, and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) technologies training program and an explorative class on automotive trade career opportunities.
The EV, hybrid, and ADAS class will be a free, module-based program for employers to provide for high-level apprentices. The next will also be free and provide information on how technology has changed the work that automotive tradespeople do to Canadians looking for an apprenticeship. Once completed, participants will be well-positioned to find an employer sponsor to pursue an apprenticeship, AIA Canada says.
“Careers in the auto sector are meaningful, well-paying, and for many people, offer a path to a better life,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “Our government will continue to invest in innovative training programs that help people gain the skills they need to land life-changing jobs so they can earn bigger paycheques for themselves and their families.”
Automotive tradespeople that work in the auto care industry provide Ontarians with essential vehicle repair and maintenance services that keep Ontario’s more than 9 million vehicles in road-safe condition, according to AIA Canada. The association says it “looks forward to continued collaboration with the government and our post-secondary partners to ensure the industry is ready to service the vehicles of both today and tomorrow.”
Featured image credit: FG Trade/iStock
Secondary image: (Left to right) Ontario Premier Doug Ford and AIA Canada President Jean-François Champagne at Transform Automotive in Ontario. (Photo provided by AIA Canada)