Mirroring the situation in the states, the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of Canada (RVDAC) is making a push to find potential RV service technicians and train them.
“Dealers are crying for technicians, and we are finding that even though there are training programs, people are not aware of the jobs that are available in the RV industry,” said Eleanore Hamm, RVDAC executive vice president.
RVDAC has partnered with Okanagan University College in British Columbia to publicize the availability of jobs – it’s estimated that more than 90 new service techs will be needed in Canadian dealerships over the next two years – and the fact that training, some of it government sponsored, is available.
“Each year at about this time, I get many calls from employers asking about our graduating class,” said Al Cohoe, chairman of Okanagan’s Motor Vehicle Department. “From what I was told by employers this year, there are job openings right now for as many as 48 service technicians, and we are graduating just about a dozen. The jobs are there, especially if people are willing to relocate.”
The Canadian service technician training system is multi-tiered. Three provinces – British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario – sponsor government-approved apprenticeship programs that provide small tax breaks to employers. In some cases, students enrolled in RV trade classes at Okanagan who are retraining from another profession receive direct financial aid from the government.
Between 100 and 120 students currently are enrolled in apprenticeships. Entry-level classes at Okanagan University College in some instances feed into the apprenticeship program.
Fewer than a dozen Canadian dealers are enrolled in the U.S.-based Recreation Vehicle Service Training Council’s (RVSTC) Distance Learning Program.