Despite the uncertainty around us, this year has proved to be a year of hope for the automotive industry.
As the pandemic lingered on, the importance of the automotive industry was demonstrated in being declared an essential service. Job security may be a growing factor for careers seekers. In previous years, automotive and powersports programs struggled to enroll students; however, in the last two years, there has been an uptick in enrollment for these programs. So much so, some programs have up to a two-year waitlist for enrollment.
Recognizing the rise in demand for automotive schooling, the Automotive Retailers Foundation (ARFI) knew something needed to be done to assist those for whom these programs may be out of reach for financial reasons. The ARFI provides financial aid and supports those with a passion for the automotive industry to complete their schooling and grow their careers.
In 2021 the ARFI restructured its slate of scholarships and bursaries, adding new categories to keep up with industry trends. Three new bursaries were created: the Women’s Automotive Bursary, Indigenous Peoples Automotive Bursary, and the Motorcycle Bursary. An Electric Vehicle Specialist Scholarship was added to compliment the pre-existing Ed Coates Red Seal Automotive Trades Scholarship and the Bob Clarke Memorial Scholarship.
The Women’s Automotive Bursary was created to encourage and assist more females to pursue careers in automotive. This year’s recipient was Louise Trenholm, a young female apprentice pursuing her Red Seal. The Indigenous Peoples Bursary was created to encourage those who identify as indigenous to pursue careers in the automotive industry. This year’s winner was Luc Plantier, who proudly identifies as Metis.
This year the foundation received a $5,000 donation from Trev Deeley, and, as a result, ARFI was able to create and award two motorcycle bursaries to two deserving candidates: Aurelien Sechet and Landon Laberge, both pursuing careers as motorcycle technicians.
With electric vehicles and technology ever-evolving within the automotive industry, the ARFI wanted to garner more interest and recognition in this sector. The Electric Vehicle Specialist Scholarship was created to support a technician who is solely focusing on learning how to repair electric vehicles. This year’s winner was Michael Waddle, a young technician who has been learning about and helping repair electric vehicles while still in high school.
The Bob Clarke Memorial Scholarship was created in memory of the late Bob Clarke, a long-standing and well-respected figure in the industry whose passion was unmatched. This scholarship was created to help with tuition or tools for anyone pursuing a career in the automotive industry. This year’s winner was Anthony Casey, a practicing apprentice pursuing his Red Seal.
The Ed Coates Red Seal Automotive Trades Scholarship was named to honour the legacy of the late Co-founder/President and CEO of Lordco Parts, Ed Coates. This scholarship was created to help fund and support a technician in the completion of a red seal apprenticeship in the automotive industry. This year’s winner was Chad Lhee, a current student at BCIT completing his Motor Vehicle Body Repair Program.
This year the foundation was able to award a combined total of $17,000 to deserving candidates pursuing careers in this amazing industry. Despite the uncertain times, ARFI wanted to demonstrate that there is always support available to those wanting to enter the industry.
The foundation needs the support of the industry to attract more talent. Please consider donating today at ARFI.ca.