Sherbrooke served as the launching point for a new training program for mechanics looking to work on electric and hybrid-electric vehicles on Thursday. Aimed at broadening horizons for graduates of DEP programs in mechanics as well as experienced mechanics, the Programme Compétances VÉ is the first progam of its kind in Canada and will help prepare for a new generation of vehicle repair.
“We are looking at the future right here,” said Francois Bonnardel, Quebec’s Transport Minister and Member of the National Assembly for Granby who was present for the launch alongside Labour Minister Jean Boulet.
The announcement took place during the opening of a new training centre for maintenance of electric vehicles on Galt Street East that will be operated by the Comité paritaire de l’automobile des cantons-de-l’est, an organization which oversees and supports the workers of the automobile maintenance industry in the region.
Marco Labrie, Executive Director of the CPA, pointed out that this new centre and the associated program are essential in a world that is constantly changing.
“From new technologies related to hybrid and electric vehicles to increasingly popular driver assistance systems, the automotive industry is one of the industries with the most rapid technological change,” he said. ”Therefore, the profession of automotive technician requires continuous training in order to be always up to date with the latest innovations and, more importantly, to ensure the safety of the public during repairs.”
Labrie noted that 30 per cent of technicians and mechanics currently working in the Eastern Townships are expected to retire within the next ten years, and said that ensuring the presence of professional and accessible training centres and programs will help supply to keep up with demand as those retirements take place.
Boulet and Bonnardel also spoke to the importance of supporting projects that help uphold the province’s commitment to the electrification of transit.
“Skills development is at the heart of our economic recovery strategy,” the Labour Minister said. “By supporting this training, our government is showing that it is committed to improving the conditions of specialized workers while allowing them to develop expertise that will serve to maintain Quebec’s leadership in transportation electrification. Labor is essential to developing a robust economy based on quality jobs.”