By Chris Gerics
Peterborough, Ontario — April 22, 2016 — The technician shortage may be lessening, although the numbers are still critical. Apprenticeships are on the rise, at least in Ontario.
In 2012-2013, 251 apprentices were registered in Ontario’s Auto Body Collision Damage Repairer trade, with 124 apprentices writing the exam and 76 passing. The next year apprentice intake numbers decreased to 214 persons. However in 2014-2015, 324 apprentices entered the trade with a further 210 apprentices writing the exam and 137 passing.
As well, the number of exam challengers writing the trades exam skyrocketed from 113 in the 2013-2014 year to 219 in the 2014-2015 year.
John Norris, Executive Director of Collision Industry Information Assistance (CIIA), sees autobody apprenticeships picking up momentum.
“We have significantly increased the amount of apprentices writing the exam. However, we have had more than double the amount of challengers to apprentices writing the exam,” says Norris. “Three years ago we had, in total, 237 writing the exam and in the last 12 months we have had 461. That’s really positive. We have had more people in the trade, fewer human resource issues, more competent people and more legally trained individuals. This has to help the industry as a whole.”
Norris explains that while the workforce would become bigger, it would also be advantageous to have more people learning skills that stretch beyond the exam.
“It does result in a larger workforce by definition, but it’s also a more competent workforce,” says Norris. “The people getting into the trade and going through this process are ending up with a lot more skills than just enough to pass a three hour exam.”