One of Canada’s top automotive dealers thinks the industry needs to encourage high school students to consider careers in vehicle service and repair, and that convincing them the jobs are highly technical is the way to do it.
Shahin Alizadeh, CEO of Downtown Automotive Group (DAG) in Toronto, said there has never been a better time for young people to consider a career in the business.
“There’s so much excitement in our industry, and yet the focus is still on the fact the average technician just ends up getting greasy all day and changes oil,” Alizadeh told Automotive News Canada. “We need a better educational process in terms of engaging [youth]. We need to realistically make a platform from an industry point of view that gives the technical side a bit more presence in the eyes of these [young people] as to why it’s a great career and a rewarding career. Spend some resources on promoting to the youth the idea of entering the technical side of the car business.”
DAG includes 10 retail locations in Toronto representing eight automotive brands. It has yearly sales of more than $400 million.
Alizadeh’s opinion is shared by Tahnee Pitter-Duncan, a 20-year old Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) auto-body apprentice.
“There should be more people jumping to get into the trades, but there’s a nasty stigma of being called a greaseball, dropout or just an idiot for being a technician in the automotive sector. None of this is true,” Pitter-Duncan said. “Top-of-the-line shops are clean because only the rookies spill oil. You also have to be pretty smart to diagnose and repair damages on a vehicle, especially since there’s more and more electrical systems being added to vehicles.
“To be a mechanic or autobody technician should never be synonymous with being broke,” said Pitter-Duncan, who is doing her autobody apprenticeship through a TTC program in partnership with the Toronto District School Board.
“The hard workers of this field make so much more money than what people believe.
HIGH-TECH WORK EQUALS HIGH INCOME