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The Automotive Industry Includes a Variety of Career Pathways

Dave Woolley, who manages an Automotive Training Centre for Akzonobel Coatings Ltd., shares how he got involved in this trade.

Tell us about your career journey and your educational pathway.

I graduated from Fanshawe College in Ontario. I completed my apprenticeship and achieved my Red Seal certification. Rick Saddler was my mentor throughout my apprenticeship at Regency Auto Collision, in Kitchener. I worked on the floor for 35 years working at five different collision centers. I started by sweeping floors, then moved on to autobody work and paint jobs. I really enjoyed painting and continued this work for approximately 25 years. I joined AkzoNobel 10 years ago as a Technical Sales Representative and have recently become a Technical Consultant and I’m also responsible for our Automotive Training Centre in Etobicoke, Ontario.

What do you love about your job?

I enjoy the variety of the work. Every day is different. I also like the flexibility and helping our customers succeed. In addition, I love to teach, which is why running our Training Centre was the perfect fit for me.

Who has inspired you?

My parents! They have always encouraged and supported me to be my best. When I was 16 years old, my father bought me my first car, and it needed some work. I received help to fix the car from one of my neighbors. I was impressed with what he was able to do to refinish the car. Furthermore, when I worked for Rob Paven at one of his shops, I was introduced to the Process Centered work environment. I learned a lot from this environment and the processes that Rob put in place. I really enjoyed working in this type of environment.

What type of career opportunities exist within your industry?
Collision centres are currently looking for workers. Beyond the shop level jobs there are also opportunities with distributors and suppliers.

What is your career advice for young people who want to pursue a career in this industry?
1- Work hard and be the best that you can be.
2- Don’t be afraid of change but rather embrace it.
3- Look for ways to continuously improve your skills.

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