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CBC News reports on Prince Edward Island’s auto technician shortage

By CRM Staff

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island — December 5, 2017 — Business is booming for auto repair shops across Prince Edward Island (PEI), but business owners have concerns about the future of employment and a lack of trained technicians.

A report from CBC News found that shops across the island are concerned with an absence of training for people interested in getting into the automotive repair business.

“It’s the lack of trained apprentices coming into the trade and the lack of training facilities here on PEI that we can draw apprentices from,” Jeff Dalziel, from Dalziel’s Auto Body in Charlottetown, told CBC News.

PEI has not offered any autobody technician training through its apprentice program at Holland College in 10 years. In a written statement to CBC News, a representative for the department of Workforce and Advanced Learning said the department stopped running the program because it wasn’t meeting the minimum enrolment requirement.

“It’s desperate hard to find new employees,” said Steve Perry, office manager of Gaudet’s Auto Body in Charlottetown. “With the increasing people that are in the town, the accidents are increasing as well, so you’re busier and it’s harder to find more staff.”

The Department of Workforce and Advanced Learning also told CBC News that PEI issued 13 Red Seal certifications in Motor Vehicle Body Repair in the last five years. It claims the province will cover the cost of training in New Brunswick or Nova Scotia through its apprenticeship program. Currently, there are six islanders getting trained.

The news website reports that some autobody shops in the province are training technicians on their own.”We have a term for it: ‘We grow our own,'” said John Dalziel, the shop foreman at Dalziel’s Auto Body. “You have to find a good candidate, bring them in, provide the training for them, provide the materials and the work experience for them to hopefully turn into someone that you would like to keep and to hire.”

Most people trying to get their certification have to travel to other provinces to do so, while some shops say they recruit workers through high school apprenticeship programs. Others are bringing trained workers to the island from out-of-province or overseas.

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