While many university grads complain that their arts degree seems to make them eligible for nothing more than low-skilled service jobs in Vancouver restaurants, there is a market that says it cannot get people trained fast enough to fill vacant jobs.
Despite offering education grants, attractive apprenticeships and jobs that can ultimately command six-figure wages, B.C.'s automotive industry is worried that they simply can't find enough trained auto mechanics to fill the thousands of vacancies they face as aging mechanics retire from the industry over the next decade.
The president and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of B.C., Mr. Blair Qualey stated that it is a big issue for their members. This association represents 350 new truck and car dealers employing about 36,000 people through the province.
Qualey notes that the average age of mechanics or automobile service technicians is 54 years old. Some of their members are going to lose up to half of their service technicians in the next 10 years. He also estimated that his members who are just part of B.C.'s huge and diverse automotive sector will require 10,000 to 15,000 new hires in the next decade.
His association is functioning on several fronts to attract existing high school students into the business. It offers the education grants of up to US$5,000 to students who want to practice a career in this area and has professionally created two videos that feature people who have taken training in the area talking about their experience. It is also utilizing the Vancouver auto show in this spring to put in a career Corner to get in touch with young people. The members of Qualey have also used up hundreds of thousands of dollars in helping both local schools and, specifically, Okanagan College by adding tools and devices for automotive training.