April 23, 2004

14th annual B.C. Auto Skills competition to take place May 1st

Burnaby, B.C. – Now in its 14th year, the 2004 BCAA, BCIT and B.C. Ford Dealers’ Student Auto Skills Competition will be held in Burnaby, B.C. on May 1st.

The competition features the top 20 high school automotive students from across B.C. – representing schools in Aldergrove, Comox, Dawson Creek, Delta, Duncan, Maple Ridge, Mission, New Westminster, North Vancouver and Victoria.

The annual competition is aimed at encouraging careers in the automotive industry and raising awareness about the current and predicted shortage of qualified technical workers in B.C.

The 10 two-student teams will be required to diagnose and repair identical malfunctions deliberately installed in vehicles. The first team to successfully start and road test their vehicle is declared the winner.

Each student on the top three teams will receive an automotive scholarship to the post secondary institution of their choice and an open scholarship to BCIT’s automotive program. The first-place team will also attend the American Automobile Association’s (AAA) National Student Auto Skills Competition on June 29 in Dearborn, Michigan as spectators.

The Automotive Industries Association of Canada estimates that over the course of the next few years, 50 per cent of automotive service technicians will begin to retire. The Business Council of B.C. reports that in the decade between 1998 and 2008, 8,000 skilled technicians will be required to fill positions in the automotive trades sector – 4,000 of them new positions – making it the fourth largest employer among the major trades in B.C.

“The average age of technicians in the automotive trade is 54, so there is a lot of room for fresh, young students in the industry. Most students don’t know that as a technician you’re almost guaranteed a salary of $50,000 a year,” says Peter Gobee, Service Manager, MSA Ford in Abbotsford. Gobee, together with his dealership, has supported the competition by working
one-on-one with previous automotive student finalists. This year, the dealership will be donating a Ford Taurus to the winning school’s automotive department. “The Student Auto Skills Competition brings bright, young automotive students into the trade and helps build enthusiasm about an important profession. We encourage all dealerships to go to the competition
and take note of students who could be potential employees.”

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