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Anyone considering getting into the recreational vehicle service industry might want to hit the books sooner rather than later.
Following a few slow years, the industry is gearing up for larger sales and with that comes a greater need for people trained in servicing motor homes and fifth wheelers.
“Whether in B.C. or across the country, industry is telling us that they are starting to experience difficulty finding technicians,” said Eleonore Hamm, president of the RV Dealers Association of Canada. “We need to start recruiting again.”To help fill the need, registration is now underway at Okanagan College for entry level training in the RV Service Technician program with information sessions taking place at all four campuses throughout the College region.
College RV Service Technician instructor Jim Ingram said he’s posting a growing number of positions on the program’s job board.
“We have approximately eight listings on the board at this time, with jobs in Victoria, the Okanagan, and into the Prairies,” Ingram said. “Things are definitely moving.”
Former Okanagan College student Rick McKague isn’t surprised.
“The training was excellent, and the employment opportunities are good,” said McKague, who graduated this spring from the Recreation Vehicle Service Technician program with his Level 3 and is now with Kelowna RVs where he has worked in both service and parts.
“One of the guys I graduated with was actually headhunted and took a job in Saskatchewan,” he said. “There’s a real boom going on there now and they are desperate for RV techs.”
Hamm admits the economy has been hard on the industry for the last few years, but that’s now changed.
“We’re forecasting a two per cent growth in the industry in the upcoming year, and while employee counts have been down, it looks like that is turning around.”
The turn-around is also being felt in the U.S., where the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association says it expects a 39 per cent increase in RV shipments from the 2009 recession low.
“It’s a good time to be getting into this field,” said Ingram. “Students want to hit the books before the need for these positions peaks.”
The RV Service Technician program begins with a comprehensive 28-week program that takes students with little or no previous experience and gives them the skills to seek employment as an apprentice RV Service Technician.
This Red Seal trade covers a variety of skills including electrical, plumbing, carpentry, joinery, refrigeration, gas fitting, and even appliance repair.
Many women experience success as RV Technicians, which makes the program especially attractive for those eligible for Okanagan College’s Women in Trades Training Initiative.
Information sessions take place:
Tuesday, June 12 – 6:30 - 8 p.m.Penticton, Room PC120Salmon Arm, Room 143
Tuesday, June 19 – 6:30 - 8 p.m.Kelowna campus, Room T117Vernon campus, Room E102
Registration for the program is also available online at www.okanagan.bc.ca/apply, and follow the link to Trades Foundation.
For more information on the RV Service Technician program, contact Okanagan College, at 250-762-5445, ext. 4275. For information on the Women in Trades programs, contact Erin Kavanagh at 250-575-7130.