BCAA/BCIT/BC Ford Dealers' Auto Skills Competition helps shift auto careers into high gear

    BURNABY, B.C., May 5 /CNW/ - BCAA, BCIT and B.C. Ford Dealers' are
handing high school students the keys to jumpstart their careers in the
automotive repair industry as they team up to reward students for their
automotive knowledge and technical skills. The competition is especially
relevant during a time when more motorists are fixing their older vehicles
instead of buying new ones; in hopes their used automobiles will survive the
    On May 9, the top 20 high school automotive students from across B.C will
meet at BCIT, Burnaby to face off in the 2009 BCAA, BCIT and B.C. Ford
Dealers' Student Auto Skills Competition from 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
    Each two-student team will race the clock to correctly identify and fix
intentionally installed "bugs" on identical 2009 Ford Focus vehicles. After
properly diagnosing and repairing their vehicle, the team mates must drive
their assigned vehicle across the finish line, where the car will be inspected
for accuracy and workmanship.
    The Student Auto Skills Competition, now in its 19th year includes
automotive students from across B.C. - representing schools in Abbotsford,
Coquitlam, Delta, Duncan, Langley, Maple Ridge, North Vancouver, Salmon Arm,
Surrey and Terrace.
    "With so many motorists hanging onto their vehicles longer in this
economic climate, it really underscores the need for skilled automotive
technicians," says Student Auto Skills Committee Chair, Allen Holmes.
    "Both auto dealers and independent repair shops are seeing drivers
willing to shell out for costly, major repairs rather than trade in their used
automobiles," he says.
    Parts and service departments are expected to see a revenue gain of about
three per cent this year, according to forecasts from the U.S. National
Automobile Dealers Association. That would be up from 1.8 per cent for the
first 11 months of 2008.
    The competition also serves as an opportunity to reverse the
anachronistic "grease monkey" stereotype often assigned to "mechanics", now
correctly referred to as "automotive technicians".
    "Today's auto techs are highly trained professionals who rise to the
challenge of keeping their customers' cars running efficiently," explains
Holmes. "Daily work requires tremendous mathematical, logical, electrical,
electronic, mechanical and engineering skill. Jobs may involve working on
computerized systems, electronics and diagnostic equipment, and trying to keep
up with advancements in hybrids and other alternative-fuel vehicles."
    Over $18,000 in prizes and scholarships will be in the cards for
competing 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,
    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

    Editors note:

    Media are invited to the competition on Saturday, April 12 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. Parking is free during BCIT's Open House.

    BCAA/BCIT/BC Ford Dealers' Auto Skills Competition

    Participating Schools

    SCHOOL                                              STUDENTS
    Abbotsford Christian School, Abbotsford             Jonathan Kruk
    Instructor: Gary Verbeek (604 859 7103)             Tim Dyck

    Caledonia Senior Secondary, Terrace                 Brandt Johnson
    Instructor: Doug Brewer (250 635 4568)              Brandon Martinson

    Carson Graham Secondary, North Vancouver            Robert Curry
    Instructor: Mubasher Faruki (604 903 4859)          Carlo Milano

    Centennial Secondary, Coquitlam                     Shane MacKenzie
    Instructor: Geoff McElgunn (604 467 3953)           Andrew Best

    Cowichan Secondary, Duncan                          Mark Fairhurst
    Instructor: Ryan Gough (250 743 7906)               Chris Pilkey

    Credo Christian High School, Langley                Chris Hollaar
    Instructor: Vince Vanspronsen (604 514 0563)        Cameron Vandergugten

    Delta Secondary, Delta                              Alexander Lee
    Instructor: Casey Mynott (604 940 2351)             Chris Oakley

    Frank Hurt Secondary, Surrey                        Jesse James Ramsay
    Instructor: Mani Grewal (778 997 5268)              Ryan Schmidt

    Garibaldi Secondary, Maple Ridge                    Matthew Eskesen
    Instructor: Tom Wallace (604 463 6287)              Samuel Wood

    Salmon Arm Secondary, Salmon Arm                    Thomas Arrowsmith
    Instructor: Gary Lebeter (250 892 9404)              Jesse Richardson


For further information:

For further information: or to arrange a photo opportunity with
participating students, contact: Jennifer Timm, BCAA Media Relations Advisor,
Tel: (604) 268-5342, Cell: (778) 228-8859, E-mail: jennifer.timm@bcaa.com

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