Vancouver Community College (VCC) has long been a champion of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in education, and our automotive trades programs are no exception. This is why, when the opportunity arose to be certified through the Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion and Advancement (CADIA), we jumped at the chance, becoming the first automotive school in Canada to earn this recognition.
To earn CAIDA certification, a member of the automotive industry must record and demonstrate its efforts towards increasing EDI, and continually show progress via an annual renewal process.
“Attaining CADIA certification is symbolic of our school’s commitment to ensuring that VCC is a place for learners of all walks of life to receive the skills and training they need to succeed in their chosen profession,” says Brett Griffiths, VCC’s Dean, School of Trades, Technology, and Design.
It has been proven repeatedly that diversity, equity, and inclusion make us better at a lot of things, especially business. From finding new ways to solve problems to meeting the needs of new and different customers, research has shown that inclusive organizations can be eight times more likely to achieve better business outcomes.
In the automotive industry overall, however, progress has been comparatively slow. According to a 2020 Deloitte study, for example, far fewer women (39 per cent) than men (64 per cent) feel that attitudes towards women in automotive jobs have improved in the last five years.
A recent CADIA blog post suggests that for EDI to succeed in this industry, it needs to be recognized as a full system, just like quality or safety. Implementing a new safety system in an automotive shop, for example, would involve “a multi-faceted approach to informing and educating everyone – from shop floor maintenance to the C-Suite. You would expect not just compliance, but active engagement after a strong rollout.”
Implementing EDI systems is a smart move from many perspectives. “Skilled workers in automotive trades are in high demand,” says VCC president and CEO Ajay Patel. “It just makes sense that barriers are removed so all students can receive the high-quality, hands-on education that they expect from VCC.”
At VCC, equity, diversity, inclusion, and reconciliation have been woven through every aspect of college operations thanks to our 2022-25 Strategic Innovation Plan. We are also proud to exceed the Government of Canada’s 50 – 30 Challenge promoting diversity in institutional leadership, and VCC’s transportation trades grads have consistently shared their appreciation for supportive training environments (see articles below).
Change is still needed, and post-secondary institutions will be instrumental in furthering diversity in the new generations of automotive tradespeople. VCC’s CADIA certification not only recognizes our efforts to further EDI in automotive trades, but also provides access to CADIA’s professional development resources and community professionals. Most importantly, it holds us accountable to our commitments.
With this new support from CADIA and our ever-expanding automotive trades community, we look forward to making an even stronger contribution to B.C.’s diverse workforce in the years to come.