The ARA donates $4,900 to High School Automotive Program

Thank you to all the members who stepped up and helped the ARA raise $4,900 for Pitt Meadows Secondary School. The donation will be used to purchase cutting-edge tools and equipment for the automotive program.

“It’s all about the community working with the schools,” said Steve Wiebe, principal district alternate, youth train in trades programs and work experience. Wiebe, Dale Ablett, the automotive teacher, and a number of students in the class accepted the cheque on May 1 at the school’s lively automotive shop.

Classes in the automotive department start in grade 10 and go through to grade 12. The students also have the option of doing their level one mechanics in grade 12 so they are ready to go right into level two upon graduation, which fast tracks them towards red seal certification.

Often students do their level one and two but get caught up with work during their apprenticeship and don’t always achieve red seal certification. The ARA wants to help students go all the way by offering over $20,000 in scholarships and bursaries through the Automotive Retailers Foundation (ARFI). And new for 2019, four bursaries will provide up to $2000 for continuing education tuition related to an automotive career. This could include sales, management, or administration training.

One of the biggest challenges the automotive industry faces is attracting young talent. Automotive programs in schools like this one encourage students to pursue careers in the industry.

“For a good number of students this type of class inspires them to entertain a career in the automotive field or it opens up a significant number of career opportunities that start with working on cars,” said Ablett.

The PMSS automotive program also benefits the community by offering auto services and repairs at reasonable prices.

“It is a win-win-win for everybody,” said Ablett. “The kids benefit from working on the vehicles for practical experience and for the great feeling of being able to help somebody else.”

A big thank you goes out to CSN BC Collisions, Maple Ridge Towing (1981) Ltd., Grandcity Autobody Ltd. (Vancouver), Craftsman Collision, Rapid Auto Glass, and CJ Automotive for their donations.