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Dealer's Voice: Many Rewarding Careers Available in Auto Industry

Trillium Automobile Dealers Association had a CIAS booth to promote education and careers in the auto sector. The feedback from the public was overwhelming.

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At the 2014 Canadian International Auto Show in February, the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association had a booth to promote education and careers in the auto sector. The feedback from the public was overwhelming.

Thousands of visitors dropped by to view the printed brochures, watch videos, ask questions and interact with TADA staff about education and careers.

In fact, many visitors were surprised at the advanced education and specialized training required for some of the careers available at car dealerships and in the aftermarket sector, not to mention the wide scope of positions available.

Careers at dealerships are varied, challenging, and rewarding. From automotive technicians, parts staff and service advisors to sales consultants, IT specialists, marketing experts and human resource personnel, there are positions for a wide range of skill sets and work preferences.

Many positions require specialized skills, training and education, all of which is available at post-secondary schools throughout Ontario (for a list of the colleges and to view educational materials, visit tada.ca/education).

TADA?s website features a dedicated career section that gives employers and job seekers efficient access to resumes and other job-related information. Under the Career Opportunities link, more than 350 job openings are listed in all areas of a dealership, including sales, management, marketing, service, parts, finance and administration.

For the past three decades, TADA has worked hard to promote education and careers in our industry. We have formed key partnerships with Ontario?s leading post-secondary schools (Centennial College in Toronto and the Automotive Business School of Canada at Georgian College in Barrie) and provided mentorship, financial support, scholarships, awards, marketing resources and networking opportunities.

Our association works with all post-secondary schools that offer automotive related courses and programs. In the months ahead, we will also be developing relationships with adult learning centers for those who want to move into a new career.

TADA also works closely with dealers (and dealer groups), providing marketing materials and resources, and sharing best practices to help them form closer relationships with high schools and colleges.

Hundreds of car dealers provide apprenticeship and co-op work opportunities, a win-win arrangement that benefits both students and dealerships.

The retail car industry ranks as one of the largest and most progressive industries in Ontario, and new-car dealers generate $27 billion annually for the provincial economy.

New-car dealerships also provide thousands of well-paying jobs in Ontario and employ about 47,000 people. The average weekly earnings for automobile dealership employees are $906 (Statistics Canada: 2012).

At this time of year, high-school students are researching schools and course selections with an eye to their future careers. Sadly, many will make choices without being aware of the potential the auto industry has to offer.

If you are a student and undecided about your career (or are looking for a career change), visit our website and view the information available. Talk to teachers and professors who are involved in automotive-based programs.

Contact your local new-car dealerships and speak with staff members in different departments to get a firsthand perspective on what positions are available and what education/training is required.

If I may use myself as an example: In the early 1980s, I accepted a sales position at a dealership without any definitive plans for a career in the industry.

Within a few months, I discovered that I enjoyed selling and realized I could establish a fulfilling career if I worked hard and committed myself.

There is no shortage of information and resources available for those who are interested in pursuing a career in the auto industry, a sector where opportunities abound.

This column represents the views of TADA. Email president@tada.ca or visit tada.ca. Benny Leung, president of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association, is a new-car dealer in the GTA.

Toronto Star for Wheels.ca

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