Put your skills to the test, take a chance on your techs—what are the chances you’ll regret it?

By Allison Rogers

A few months back, I had a conversation with Collision Repair columnist Stefano Liessi. He had phoned me from Skills Alberta’s Provincial Competition, where hundreds of keen students of the skilled trades competed for the chance to be named the best in their field.

Stefano sits on Skills Alberta’s Autobody Repair Committee. During this particular call, he told me of the passionate young folks putting their skills to the test, adding that one of the participants even snagged a perfect score in the welding section. He explained that Skills Alberta takes its competitions very seriously—they’re as grand as the national comps, he said, especially when the spectators are involved in the action.

As grandiose and inspiring as the provincial competition was, Stefano couldn’t help but mention one thing: the need for more industry support, where Skills Canada is concerned. More specifically, support from the collision centres.

The industry support is there, of course, via facility owners, suppliers, distributors, educators—all verticals are absolutely represented. Those who do the utmost to support efforts in the areas of industry recruitment: we at this magazine know who you are and salute your ever-going efforts. But there is always more that can be done.

As we chatted about the opportunities Skills Canada can provide, Stefano mentioned that an argument presented by shopowners, when faced with an invitation to Skills Canada, is that they cannot bear to lose their technician or painter for a week—perhaps more, if training intensity is considered. There’s too much work to be done, they’ll say—and it can be an understandable argument. But have you ever thought about the kind of marketing you can do by telling customers that the best painter in your province works under this roof?

Take Dorien Lozeau’s story, for instance. Featured on the cover of Bodyworx Professional last fall, Dorien now touts not one, but two gold medals from national Skills Canada competitions. The lead painter at CSN Black Ace can casually flaunt the title of Best Painter in Canada, according to Skills Canada standards. We’re not saying he does. Just that he can. And, if you sent your employees to put their skills to the test, maybe someday you could say the best repairer in Canada works for you.

So, tell your employees about skills competitions—they are others apart from Skills Canada, too. INDASA puts painters to the test with Battle of the Boards; FinishMaster hosts painting comps annually, if not more.

If you’re a painter or a technician with piqued interest as you read this—look into some of these contests; tell your peers and superiors. Maybe you can score a sponsorship or, at the very least, a shiny new trophy and title


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