Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 19

* APRIL 2023
19
SAIT gets a financial boost to churn out EV techs
The RBC donation
aims to increase the
resources needed to
teach students about
electrified vehicles
By DOUG FIRBY
CALGARY CORRESPONDENT
Southern Alberta's largest
technical school has received
$850,000 from the Royal Bank of
Canada (RBC) to help combat
what it calls a critical shortage
of EV service technicians across
the country.
RBC announced the funding
at Calgary-based Southern
Alberta Institute of Technology's
(SAIT) transportation
industry night March 23.
Aaron Young, vice-president
of automotive financing for
RBC, said the investment aims
to support Canada's transition
to more sustainable transportation
by increasing resources to
educate EV technicians.
Noting the shortage of technicians,
Young said RBC recognizes
the complexity of recruiting
and retention. The bank also
wants to support more women as
they comprise just eight per cent
of student technicians in Canada.
The funding will boost
both the technology and staffin
the second quarter of
2022, the most current data
available, more than double
the 5,730 openings from
the same quarter of 2021.
COVID-19 HIT HARD
The pandemic had a
" historic " impact on the
apprenticeship system,
according to StatsCan.
" We could probably train 24/7 and still not produce
enough grads to match the industry need, " said
Matt Carpenter, SAIT technician instructor. " It's
very similar across the country. " PHOTO: DOUG FIRBY
ing needed to advance
SAIT's auto technician
program, and " accelerate
efforts to ensure
our graduates have the
skills necessary to thrive
in the new economy, "
said Heather Magotiaux,
SAIT's vice-president of
external relations.
THE ELECTRIC SHIFT
The auto program
must respond to increasing
vehicle electrification,
said Matt
Carpenter, SAIT auto
technician instructor.
" We have to make sure
we are producing graduates
who are able to
repair all the vehicles on
the road. "
The SAIT program
typically has 350 students
in either its technician
diploma or apprentice
programs at any given
time.
One problem is that
for today's youth, being
a technician is " not that
desirable " of a career
path, said Carpenter.
According to Statistics
Canada, there were 11,645
job vacancies for automotive
service technicians
Chu: Family and friends
support her career
choice, although she
has " experienced a lot of
misogynistic behaviour "
in her workplace.
PHOTO: DOUG FIRBY
New apprenticeship
registrations were
down by more than
one-quarter in 2020,
the first year of the
pandemic, from
2019, and certifications
fell by almost
one-third. They
were the largest
declines since the
data series began in
1991.
The federal agency
said there were
3,084 auto service
certificates granted
to apprentices who
completed their
programs in 2020,
a 28-per-cent drop
from 2019.
support her career
path.
Severson:
The training
he's getting
at SAIT is
going to
be crucial
as more
electric
vehicles
come onto
the market.
PHOTO:
DOUG FIRBY
" We could probably
train 24/7 and still not
produce enough grads to
match the industry need.
It's very similar across the
country, " Carpenter said.
" I think the growth in
EVs is starting to rebuild
that excitement. "
Jasmine Chu, who is in
her final semester of the
diploma program, said
she took a " leap of faith "
when she entered the program
but ended up loving
her work. Family, fellow
students and instructors
But Chu said a
career in auto service
still carries a
stigma. Her workplace,
part of a
national auto service
chain, still has
" older gentlemen "
co-workers who
don't treat her as an
equal, she said.
" I have experienced
a lot of misogynistic
behaviour.
Even now, it's in
the remarks they
make. They think
they're being funny
but they're not. "
Fellow student Joshua
Severson chose the auto
technician course because,
" I didn't really want to sit
behind a desk my whole
life. " He said the EV training
at SAIT is going to be
crucial as more electric
vehicles come onto the
market.
A key aspect is how to
deal with high voltage,
Carpenter said.
" When you tell someone
there's 300 volts under
the cover, even the silliest,
goofiest student starts paying
attention. " - ANC
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Automotive News Canada - April 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Canada - April 2023

Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - Intro
Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - CT1
Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - CT2
Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 1
Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 2
Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 3
Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 4
Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 5
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Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 19
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Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 34
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