Pedal Car Challenge Kicks Off Its Second Year

The first year of the Pedal Car Challenge was a success in many ways. The program enjoyed high interest from participating schools and big support from industry partners. The ARA is looking forward to continuing the program's success in its second year with added resources for students.

The first year of the Pedal Car Challenge was a challenge with many unknowns. Would the industry be on board to support such an initiative? Would there be any interest in the program from the high schools? Would this program even make a difference in the way industry is perceived?

By the end of the first year of the program, all these unknowns became known. Industry was very supportive of the program with three industry partners—BASF, Color Compass Corporation, and Craftsman Collision—stepping up to sponsor the challenge. High schools around the province were interested and eager to have their students participate in the challenge. In the end, the program had a significant impact on the way both schools and participants view the automotive industry. The vast majority of participants also acknowledged that their perspective of the industry had shifted to a more positive one, and could see themselves creating a career in it. 

With all of the positive indicators above, we were excited to see what the program’s second year would bring. However, we had not anticipated the substantial impact that the program would have in its first year. Participating schools had referred other schools to the program, and as a result, by October of 2022, teachers were already reaching out to us about the program, before we had even opened up applications for the upcoming year. By the time we finally opened up online applications in December (2022), we already had a handful of schools that wanted to participate in the program. As a result of this increased interest, we had to create a waiting list for the next year.

The popularity of the first Pedal Car Challenge was a big motivator for this year’s challenge, and we want to ensure that the next round of the program will be just as successful. Hence, the ARA decided to re-evaluate the structure of program. We knew that exposing secondary students to career opportunities in the industry was our main objective. We knew that in order to attain this goal, we needed to ensure efficiency and clarity for both the schools and industry partners without impacting their daily school and business operations. We decided to provide schools with additional presentations and training materials so they would not feel overwhelmed with the challenge. We decided that it was mandatory for schools to visit their local collision shop at least once to gain some insight into how they work, and in turn create their own perception of the industry. However, most importantly, we knew that this program had the power to attract new talent to the industry—something that is vital to the sustainably of the automotive industry in B.C.

So as the start of the second year of the Pedal Car Challenge rounds the corner, the ARA and our industry partners are ready—ready to advocate on behalf of the industry and the amazing career opportunities it offers, and ready to motivate and educate the next generation as to the potential of saying yes to a career in automotive.