B.C.’s auto sector announces HR strategy

Vancouver, British Columbia — April 11, 2014 — The B.C. Automotive Sector Labour Market Project Steering Committee has announced the completion of the second phase of a human resource project for the province’s automotive industry. The project will help ensure that this important sector of B.C.’s economy has the qualified, skilled employee population it needs for the future.

The Committee oversees the work of the B.C. Automotive Sector LMP, which was launched in the summer of 2012 to address the long-term human resource needs of B.C.’s automotive sector. The Automotive Retailers Association of B.C. (ARA) is the lead organization for the project, and project activities are funded through the Canada-B.C. Labour Market Development Agreement.

“The project is a result of collaboration between government and key automotive sector stakeholders in B.C.,” said Ken McCormack, president and CEO of the ARA, a constituent member of the Committee. “The Committee is committed to ensuring that B.C.’s automotive sector has the labour force with the correct education and skills required to meet the needs of this important industry that directly or indirectly employs one in seven British Columbians.”
Among its activities to date, the Steering Committee commissioned A Human Resource Strategy for the BC Automotive Sector, which is a comprehensive report that identifies and describes current and projected human resource challenges that the industry faces and suggested solutions that will ensure a supply of qualified employees in the future. A comprehensive career awareness and marketing strategy, including marketing materials geared towards helping employers and industry, was also developed.
“In B.C., the automotive sector is primarily a service industry based around the sale, maintenance, repair and disposal of motor vehicles,” says Committee member Wade Bartok of Elite Body Shop~CSN in North Vancouver. “The human resource challenges currently facing this sector are similar to other industries and include an ageing workforce, a lack of defined career pathways, a fragmented approach to recruitment and retention, an inconsistent approach to formalized training, a sector-wide lack of business succession planning, and voracious competition for skilled tradespeople.”
The completed sector-wide strategy will assist in making in-roads with recruitment, retention and training of employees as well as bring public perceptions in line with current business realities. The Committee aims to execute sector-wide strategies that are efficient, effective, and representative of the needs of the entire sector and all communities province-wide.
“Strategies and tactics have been developed to overcome and mitigate the significant human resource challenges facing the automotive sector in order to strengthen and reinvigorate this essential sector in B.C.’s economic health and well-being,” adds Peter Foreman of Foreman Auto Service in Langley. “We are extremely pleased with the significant progress of the project thus far, and look forward to the next phase.”
Phase two of this strategic plan will:
*   Develop a sector-wide HR strategy;
*   Develop marketing and communication tools and standardized processes to promote training opportunities and defined career pathways for B.C.’s automotive sector;
*   Develop a sector-focused Strategic Plan to communicate ongoing objectives;
*   Increase positive perception of and morale within the sector, and
*   Conduct survey and other outreach activities to ensure the views of sector participants, stakeholders, and the general public are taken into account with all sector-related strategies.

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