Grad time: Auto technician a good career choice

Ron Nutini is a licensed automotive technician in Trail

It is that time of year – Grad.

Time to celebrate but also time to make some tough decisions. Hopefully some new grads will choose my trade. I am pushing 60 and have worked in this trade for 30 years. I will need to retire soon but like many trades the demographics of automotive technicians is old! The people standing in line to take our places are few and far between.

The automobile was a fascination of mine as high school came and went – me and a lot of others at the time. I understand it is not the fascination of so many nowadays. I don’t really understand why but did I say I was old?

My high school had an auto shop and in my Grade 12 year I had three blocks of eight that I spent there. My other courses were sciences, math and the bare minimum of arts. I had to go to university, at least that is what my parents wanted me to do. I guess I would have been considered a compliant teenager.

I made the easy decision then to stay in school. Engineering was going to be my career. First stop Selkirk College. An engineering degree in my day required five years of university. I took six.

Got a bit side tracked. For three years I wanted to quit (engineering school was boring and impractical) and the last three years I just wanted to finish. Then I could in some way engineer vehicles for a living.

Well, when it comes to career choices timing is everything. When I started in engineering in 1979-80 engineering jobs were plentiful. Grads could choose where they wanted to work.

In 1984 when I walked off the campus degree in hand only 12 of 120 UBC mechanical engineers had a job to go to. Neither Porsche, nor Volkswagen, not even Chrysler wanted me. I tell myself they didn’t want anybody. Probably that is not true.

Luckily I had a back up plan. I could fix cars. When the making-new-cars business is down the fixing-old-cars business is up. I went to an import auto repair shop near where I lived when I went to university and asked to be an apprentice. “Do you have any tools?” said the owner. You can start tomorrow. I never looked back.

The automobile is a marvel of technology. Probably the best example of engineering in our world today. Fixing them for a living has always provided me the challenge I desire.

Technology is changing at a fast pace. The personal fascination with automobiles may be waning but most of us will continue to use them to get around. I am pretty sure there will be a lot of good automotive technician careers left before all these vehicles become able to fix themselves.

Just in case though be flexible in your career choices. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

Trail’s Ron Nutini is a licensed automotive technician and graduate of mechanical engineering from UBC. E-mail: nutechauto@telus.net

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre expands operations online

The facility also opened back up to the public earlier in June

Rossland’s Sourdough Alley a ‘muddy collection of shacks’

Rossland’s earliest thoroughfare was once derided as a ‘muddy collection of shacks’

Cannings: Nuclear waste regulations put Canadians at risk

Richard Cannings is in his second term as MP for the South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding

Howie Fishwick Memorial Scholarship

Crowe grad and Rosebowl Award winner Carollynn Ballarin is a Howie Fishwick Scholarship recipient

Groups lobby for environmental assessment of Teck coal mine

“Castle would extract even more coal than has been mined at the original Fording River mine”

Lower Mainland teacher facing child pornography charges

Elazar Reshef, 52, has worked in the Delta School District

Man who rammed gate near Trudeau residence with truck faces multiple charges

The man, who police have not yet officially identified, will be charged with multiple offences

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

Kelowna RCMP commander calls for more nurses during wellness checks after complaint

Southeast District Commander wants to increase Police and Crisis Team program

‘Tarantula moth’ spotted in broad daylight on Vancouver Island

Polyphemus moths are one of the largest insects in B.C.

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise: Horgan

Premier Horgan said he’s heard concerns that Americans have stopped at Vancouver hotels instead of heading to their destination

US officer resigns after photos, connected to death of black man in 2019, surface

Elijah McClain died, last summer, after police placed him in a chokehold

Most Read