Toronto, Ontario — Last week Fix Network hosted the graduating class of pre-apprenticeship body technicians from Tropicana Community Services for their first-ever Fix Network Trades Experience Day, at the collision repair company’s Milton training facility in Ontario.
The event, dubbed Trades Experience Day, was part of Fix Network’s mission to promote the aftermarket industry among the new generation of students and was organized in association with Tropicana Community Services and Collision Repair magazine.
The event also featured guest speakers Holly Barsoum from Skills Ontario and Manish Gupta from 3M, who shared various perspectives about the aftermarket industry.
Daryll O’Keefe, Regional Vice President – Ontario, Fix Network, says that attracting a mix of young talent and experienced personnel is critical to the aftermarket industry’s long-term growth. “We are always looking for talented people who want to shape their future in various aftermarket trades and Fix Network is recognized as a key enabler of that trend,” he points out.
“Organizations such as Skills Ontario and Tropicana Community Services are playing an important role giving Ontarians the meaningful training and job placements that they need to ensure stable, good paying careers in skilled trades. Partnering with such respected institutions allows us to identify and train the next generation of talented professionals as our industry looks for opportunities to overcome skilled labour shortages,” O’Keefe adds.
The students interacted with Fix Network’s senior leadership and trainers at the organization’s Milton Training Centre, learning first-hand about modern collision repair technologies as they prepare for a future in the aftermarket industry. Students experienced on-the-job training and mentoring in safe workshop environments, featuring dent repair, vehicle diagnostics, paint booth, vacuum sanding, and welding.
The students have graduated from Tropicana’s Auto Body and Collision Damage Repairer pre-apprenticeship program, among the non-profit organization’s various initiatives to prepare participants for employment opportunities. The six-month, tuition-free program is funded by the Government of Ontario and designed as a stepping-stone towards finding a full apprenticeship for its participants.
Skilled auto technicians are in high demand across Canada and Raymund Guiste, Executive Director of Tropicana Community Services, believes pre-apprenticeship training programs could offer an attractive pathway to young people to a secure, successful and rewarding career.
“Engaging the next generation of Canadians is absolutely critical for the aftermarket industry and the economy, while keeping unemployment rates down,” Raymund says. “We work closely with potential employers and workshop owners to identify current skill gaps and deploy effective programs addressing the labour shortages in various industries.”
Gloria Mann, Vice President of Industry Relations and Marketing at Collision Repair magazine, says initiatives such as the “Trades Experience Day” are important opportunities that will bring the aftermarket industry closer to a highly skilled and hungry workforce. “For over 20 years, we have observed how the aftermarket industry is trying to keep up with the rapid advances in the automotive sector. The event offered students a ringside view of life at a workshop and we are glad that the participants took away very important learnings from their interactions,” she added.
The event was also supported by Fix Network’s Training Centre partners NAPA, CMax, Axalta, 3M, Global Finishing Solutions (GFS), Hunter Engineering Company, Challenger Lifts, Kaeser Compressors, Car-O-Liner, Equalizer, SATA, Autel, WRD Glass Tools, Innovative Tools and Technologies Inc., Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Kent Automotive, Cam Auto and Eurovac.
For more information about Tropicana Community Services and its programs, please contact Suad Dualeh, Coordinator, Pre-apprenticeship Training Program, Tropicana Employment Centre, at email@example.com.
Check out Collision Repair mag‘s exclusive photos from the event below!