Public perception may be that jobs in the automotive industry are diminishing, but students in Canada’s largest automotive program beg to differ. In fact, the Canadian Automotive Institute in Barrie recently celebrated its success with a rebrand and name change to the Automotive Business School of Canada.
“We would like to dispel the myth that automotive jobs are in jeopardy. In fact, our graduate placement rate has been over 90 per cent for the past 27 years,” said Jennifer Sheremeto, marketing specialist for the school, based at Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario since 1985.
The new brand was officially launched at the Toronto Auto Show on Feb. 17. The automotive business program receives tremendous support from the Canadian automotive industry, which provides co-op jobs, grad jobs, scholarships and vision through industry partners. Current students and alumni were involved with the rebranding process.
“The rebrand is about better representing students. This new brand illustrates our passion, dedication and drive. We are represented as professional individuals working toward taking over the industry, and that is what we intend to do,” said Nicole Simpson, a second-year Automotive Marketing student on co-op as a marketing and communications assistant in the Automotive Business School of Canada.
“Our school is a group of driven individuals who are going to become the next generation of the automotive industry. There is nothing that we aren’t capable of,” Simpson adds.
Georgian partnered with Young and Rubicam (Y & R), the same advertising agency used by a large automotive manufacturer, to create and launch the new brand. The entire process took place within a year. Y & R suggested changing the name to Automotive Business School of Canada and establishing it as a business school. This would avoid the confusion that some prospective students may have regarding it being a technical school rather than a business school.
“When great organizations come together, great things happen. The Automotive Business School of Canada is grateful to Y & R for its support and partnership,” said Sheremeto. “They are helping us to meet our overall goal of increasing the number of applicants and helping bring negative public perception in line with the reality that the program is in fact strong and our graduates get jobs.”
Although the automotive industry has been challenged from time to time, said Dean Marie-Noelle Bonicalzi, the program has always had a strong co-op component. The school has produced more than 2,700 graduates who experienced co-ops in the field.
“Since the inception, we always had to explain that we are not a technical school, but a business school for the automotive industry,” said Bonicalzi. “Now our name says what we are all about. We are very pleased with our new motto: Automotive Business School of Canada – For the driven.”
The school also has a creed which exemplifies the dreams and desires of its students, says Bonicalzi. It is a moving testament to their love of everything automotive, she said. One section of the creed that says a great deal about the students is, “Something special propels you…you have gasoline flowing through your veins…in your world, they’re not just cars, they’re life.”
Conducting business in the automotive industry has become more sophisticated, which increases demand for multi-skilled personnel.
“I chose the school because it offers a chance to be involved in the automotive industry, which is always offering new jobs. It is an industry that will always exist and there are countless opportunities available,” said Simpson.
After graduation, says Simpson, there are career opportunities in dealerships, from being a sales person to being a service advisor. Grads may also manage or own a dealership, work for a head office or run an aftermarket business. Career opportunities also include operating auto shows, remarketing vehicles or financing for potential customers.
“If it has anything to do with automotive business it could be your potential career.”
To learn more, visit the newly launched website www.automotivebusinessschool.ca.