Last week, I had the privilege of attending the Students Awards Night at Centennial College in Toronto. This was a two-day event, where students and teaching staff celebrated the achievements and successes of its students and thanked donors for their generosity.
First off, I want to say how impressed I was with the event itself, which was organized and produced entirely by Centennial College students - including the preparation and serving of meals to 450 guests, and the musical entertainment!
I got a chance to meet students who are enrolled in automotive-related courses and to answer their questions. I was pleased to provide feedback and I proud of the passion and curiosity that the students and their instructors displayed.
Another event I attended recently took place at Durham College in Oshawa, where I'm a member of the Marketing Program Advisory Committee. Our dealerships have a proud history of working with Durham College and we employ many Durham Collage graduates.
Students at Durham College competed in a Dragons' Den-type initiative to try and woo potential investors in their respective business ventures. Students had to create a new product, devise a prototype, develop a business plan and present their ideas to a panel of experts. It was inspiring to see the level of creativity and ingenuity of students displayed.
Other student-driven initiatives that I've witnessed firsthand have taken place at the University of Waterloo and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.
The public has a chance to see this type of youthful passion at the annual Georgian College Auto Show in Barrie (June 5th, 6th and 7th, 2015). This is North America's largest outdoor auto show, which is produced by automotive students at the Automotive Business School of Canada in Barrie.
These events are just a sampling of the impressive initiatives that students are getting involved with at high schools, colleges and universities throughout Ontario.
During my presidency of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association (TADA), I've had many opportunities to visit those high schools and post-secondary schools, and to speak with students and educators. This has affirmed my belief that a new generation of bright young talent will soon be rising within our ranks and leading our industry forward.
Whether students are training to become automotive or collision repair technicians, online marketing experts, brand specialists or business managers, these students will one day be applying their skills, talents and creativity to our dynamic and fast-changing industry.
As my presidency with the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association (TADA) draws to a close, I am encouraged by the quality of automotive training and education that is available at high schools and post-secondary schools.
I'm also encouraged by the TADA's advocacy for promoting the retail automobile industry. The TADA's Board of Directors has made a renewed commitment to connect the best with the best in our industry, which employs 49,000 people and generates $29 billion in retail sales in Ontario (not to mention thousands of jobs in auto manufacturing, feeder industries).
The TADA (and many dealerships) also offer numerous scholarships and awards for Ontario students who are pursuing a career in this sector, and hundreds of car dealerships have experienced the benefits of hiring graduates from Centennial College, the Automotive Business School of Canada in Barrie, Durham College, and other schools.
In keeping with its commitment to promote automotive education and careers, the TADA recently launched a new website called www.carsandjobs.com, which offers information about automotive education, career opportunities, a consumer corner, as well as new and pre-owned vehicles for sale.
If you are considering a career or a change in careers, there are countless opportunities for you to grow and succeed within the automobile industry.