Students participate in skills competition
Students participate in skills competition.

Burnaby, British Columbia – Now in its 18th year, the Student Auto Skills Competition, held by the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA), the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and B.C. Ford Dealers, will be held April 12 in Burnaby, British Columbia. The annual competition aims to encourage careers in the automotive industry.

The competition will feature the top twenty high school automotive students from across the province, representing schools in Abbotsford, Coquitlam, Delta, Maple Ridge, North Vancouver, Salmon Arm, Qualicum Beach, Terrace and Vancouver. The ten two-student teams will race against the clock to diagnose and repair identically “bugged” malfunctions deliberately installed in vehicles; the winning team will be the first to successfully start and road-test the vehicle.

Student Auto Skills Committee Chair Allan Holmes said the current and predicted skill shortages will ultimately jack up labour rates, especially as baby boomers retire. “The cost of auto repair is expected to rise, simply due to the fact that there aren’t enough automotive technicians to go around. Because of all the necessary skills and training, the industry is facing competition from other sectors for employees. These rising costs will be passed onto the consumer unless the industry trains and recruits significant talent now.”

Each student on the top three teams will receive a scholarship to BCIT’s Motive Power Program and an Automotive Retailers Association scholarship to the post-secondary institution of his or her choice. The winning school’s automotive department will also be presented with a Ford Explorer, courtesy of MSA Ford in Abbotsford and Steve Marshall Ford in Nanaimo.

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