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The industry’s workforce: preparing for tomorrow

The skills shortage

Technology is changing the cars that we drive. It’s made electric, Internet-connected, and self-driving cars a reality.

Automotive tradespeople need new skills, like the following, to service modern cars:

  • electronic, electrical, and computer
  • high-voltage repair
  • battery technology
  • sensor calibration
  • repairing robotic parts

Because technology is introduced at a rapid pace, automotive tradespeople require ongoing upskilling to keep their skills current.

The problem is, traditional training systems can’t keep up with the rapid introduction of technology.

This is creating a skills shortage. A skills shortage exists when not enough people with the right skills are available to do the jobs that need to be done.

The Government of Canada has set a sales mandate of 100 per cent zero-emission cars by 2035. Because of this, it’s vital that Canada can meet its skills demands for automotive tradespeople.

The labour shortage

In addition to a skills shortage, the industry faces a shortage of automotive tradespeople.

The shortage is caused by factors like rising retirement rates and a decrease in registrations for apprenticeship programs.

To help resolve the shortage, more people need to pursue a career in the automotive trades.

However, attracting people to the industry is challenging because of the stigma associated with a career in the skilled trades.

But technology is changing the type of work that automotive tradespeople do. This creates opportunity to attract more people to the industry.

The tools and up-to-date equipment shortage

To service modern cars and to deliver up-to-date skills training, auto repair shops and training providers need up-to-date tools and equipment, including diagnostic and calibration tools, safety gear, and a battery lift.

Research has found that training facilities in Canada lack up-to-date tools and equipment which is preventing apprentices from acquiring the skills they need.

Solutions to industry’s workforce challenges

Together, industry, government, and other stakeholders, including training providers, can help to overcome the workforce challenges that the industry faces.

Around 86 per cent of Canada’s auto repair shops are small businesses. Shops need financial and other support from government to provide workers with ongoing training and to invest in new tools and equipment.

Industry-driven training is more flexible and responsive than traditional training systems. With government support, industry can continue to develop and deploy training that meets employer’s needs.

Attracting more people to the industry is dependent on changing people’s perceptions about what they can expect from such a career. People need to know that automotive tradespeople are on the front lines of future mobility. Industry, with government support, can change perceptions.

Learn how AIA Canada is working with the Government of Ontario and St. Lawrence College to help address the industry’s labour and skills shortage.

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