BCAA/BCIT/BC Ford Dealers' Auto Skills Competition celebrates 20 years of
helping students achieve rewarding auto careers

BURNABY, BC, April 30 /CNW/ - For 20 years, the BCAA, BCIT and B.C. Ford Dealers' Student Auto Skills Competition has been celebrating the high level of skill amongst young, aspiring auto technicians. Designed to encourage careers in the automotive industry and cultivate talent, the annual competition creates an opportunity for students to receive recognition for outstanding ability and performance in the field of automotive mechanics.

On Saturday, May 1, the 20 most skilled automotive students from high schools across the province will rev up and compete in this year's provincial BCAA, BCIT and B.C. Ford Dealers' Student Auto Skills Competition at the BCIT Burnaby Campus from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

To qualify for the competition, students completed a written exam where they were challenged with automotive-related questions. Students representing high schools from Abbotsford, Coquitlam, Duncan, Maple Ridge, Penticton, Qualicum Beach, Salmon Arm, Terrace and Vancouver earned the 10 best test scores.

The hands-on competition consists of 10 two-student teams racing against a clock to diagnose and repair identically "bugged" malfunctions deliberately installed in vehicles. The team that successfully repairs the most bugs within the 90 minute time is declared the winner.

In addition to providing a unique educational opportunity for the competing students, the Auto Skills Challenge highlights the current shortage of trained technicians in the automotive industry. Qualified automotive technicians are highly sought in today's job market and the Challenge encourages Grade 12 students to complete their education and prepare for rewarding careers in the increasingly high-tech automotive field.

"With the addition of new technologies, today's cars are extremely complex. Technicians working in the field are highly trained professionals who know more about vehicles than just the 'nuts and bolts,'" says Student Auto Skills Committee Chair, Allen Holmes.

"Careers in the automotive service industry are extremely rewarding and challenging. A great deal of skill in mathematics, logistics, electrical, electronics, mechanics and engineering are required nowadays. Many auto technicians work with state-of-the-art computerized systems, electronics and other advanced technology such as GPS and Blue Tooth."

Last year, over $18,000 in prizes and scholarships was awarded to the winning schools and students. Each student on the top three teams will receive a scholarship to BCIT's Motive Power Program and an Automotive Retailers Association scholarship to the post secondary institution of their choice. The winning school's automotive department will also be presented with a Ford Focus courtesy of MSA Ford, Abbotsford and Steve Marshall Ford, Nanaimo.

"Celebrating twenty years of hosting the Auto Skills Competition is further proof of BCIT's ongoing commitment to providing the youth of British Columbia with hands-on training and applied work experience," says Michael Coates, director of Marketing and Business Development in the School of Transportation at BCIT. "This competition will provide these students with the opportunity to compete at BCIT's Automotive Service Technician training facility, learn more about BCIT Automotive programs, and gain insight into how we collaborate with the automotive industry to train and prepare job-ready graduates."

Each year many of the participants move on to promising careers in the automotive industry as a result of participating in the competition and the scholarships they win. The competition is co-sponsored by BCAA, BCIT and B.C. Ford Dealers and supported by various organizations dedicated to quality auto service.

Editors note:

See further below to see a list of schools and competitors for the hands-on competition. Media are invited to the competition on Saturday, May 1 from 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. at BCIT in Burnaby (NE16, 3700 Willingdon Avenue). If heading east on Canada Way make a right turn onto Carey Avenue/Beta Avenue. Continue down Carey Avenue until you reach a three-way intersection. NE16 is located on the west side of Parking Lot A.

                       2010 BCAA/BCIT/BC Ford Dealers'
                       Student Auto Skills Competition

                                 "HANDS ON"
                              COMPETITION TEAMS

                  SCHOOL                             TOP STUDENTS
    Abbotsford Christian School          Brandon Jansen
    Instructor: Gary Verbeek             Dustin Gilding
    Britannia Secondary                  Alex Pyne
    Instructor: Kim Or                   Leon Chandler
    Caledonia Senior Secondary           Austin McNeil
    Instructor: Doug Brewer              Nolan Bedard
    Centennial Secondary                 Mitchell Testani
    Instructor: Geoff McElgunn           Anthony Assalone
    Cowichan Secondary                   David Hind
    Instructor: Ryan Gough               Brad La Rose
    Garibaldi Secondary                  Calvin Krangle
    Instructor: Tom Wallace              Cameron McDougall
    Kwalikum Secondary                   John Menassa
    Instructor: Luc Ouellet              Travis Vanderberg
    Penticton Secondary                  Ross Raison
    Instructor: Kevin McGrifford         Hu Harries
    Salmon Arm Secondary                 Aaron Montague
    Instructor: Gary Lebeter             Travis Kuchta
    Westview Secondary                   Bachir Bah
    Instructor: Greg Erho                Kyle Bradford

SOURCE British Columbia Automobile Association

For further information: For further information: or to arrange a photo opportunity with participating students, contact: Niela Melanio, BCAA Public Affairs Advisor, Office: (604) 268-5342, Cell: (604) 376-6889, E-mail: niela.melanio@bcaa.com

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British Columbia Automobile Association

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