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Windsor, July 15, 2016 – The Automotive Industries Association (AIA) of Canada is pleased to announce the release of the highly anticipated Advancing Women in Automotive Knowledge Exchange Needs Assessment Report. The assessment report, officially released at the 2016 Women’s Leadership Conference on June 16, 2016, is based on the results of nation-wide focus groups of women employed in the automotive aftermarket industry and supplemented by an online survey of human resources insiders. AIA Canada’s Senior Director of Industry Relations, France Daviault announced the results of the project today at St. Clair College during the wrap up of the Build a Dream girls in trades camp aimed at exposing young women to skilled trades. John Fairley, Vice President, College Communications & Community Relations, Robert Chittim, Chair School of Skilled Trades and Nour Hachem, St. Clair College Pre-Apprenticeship Project Manager and AWAKE Primary Researcher elaborated on the role education plays in breaking down barriers for women in under-represented occupations and the various initiatives St. Clair College has developed to increase the number of women pursuing skilled trade programs. The Conference Board of Canada predicts that one million skilled workers will be needed by 2020. Although many jobs will go unfilled due to the lack of skilled workers, women remain significantly underrepresented in multiple sectors, including the automotive aftermarket. AIA Canada partnered with St. Clair College to undertake the needs assessment research (survey, focus groups, analysis and report) portion of the project with, Nour Hachem, leading the work. Nour Hachem from St. Clair College travelled across Canada, conducting focus groups to hear from women who are currently working in the automotive aftermarket sector. “A considerable body of research has provided an extensive amount of data supporting the business case for companies to diversify their workforce. This needs assessment report offers a glimpse into where we are as an industry and provides a roadmap to improving the industries’ labour outlook by addressing the low representation of women in the automotive aftermarket.” – France Daviault, Senior Director of Industry Relations, AIA Canada The needs assessment report makes four (4) key recommendations for employers, the industry and government. The recommendations include developing more inclusive workplace cultures; implementing pro-active support measure for women employees; investing in measures to enhance public awareness of employment opportunities for women; and, continued support for training and incentive programs as well as communications programs to raise awareness and interest in the industry among women. “The needs assessment report reflects the experience of women working in the industry across Canada and provides key recommendations that are vital in supporting women in the industry. The report provides solutions to support the recruitment, retention and advancement of women and the role each stakeholder plays in addressing the barriers. It is recommended that industry, education, community and government work together to support women as they become better represented in the automotive aftermarket.” Nour Hachem, Project Manager and Lead Research, St. Clair College “We are here today to highlight St. Clair College’s efforts in supporting AIA and the recommendations outlined in the needs assessment report to increase the representation of women in skilled trades. Today, we bring together industry, education, government, mentors, parents and young women to highlight the import role we all play in shifting perceptions and breaking down barriers.” “We are thrilled to have young women in grade 7 and 8 exploring hands-on opportunities. More importantly, it is wonderful to see so many parents here today invested in exposing and encouraging their daughters to participate in our skilled trades camp.” – Nour Hachem, Project Manager and Lead Research, St. Clair College As final deliverables, the project plans to offer an online portal to support networking and knowledge sharing on employment practices and professional development activities, as well as, pilot the development of a tool kit for the recruitment and retention of women in the sector. It will also provide tools to assist with succession planning and to ensure that women are represented at various levels of the industry. AIA is currently seeking volunteers to take part in two different AWAKE working groups: development of a mentorship program and development of an online portal. ” I was very pleased to see the candid feedback received from participants of the AWAKE needs assessment study. For me, it validated three major notions; that there is a wealth of career opportunities for women in the automotive sector, that there are passionate and dedicated women already working in the industry who are ready and willing to lead and mentor others, and lastly, that we have a fair amount of work ahead of us to improve working conditions for women so that they feel comfortable and secure in the workplace.” Susan M. Hitchon, Director of Sales, Canada-Aftermarket “The aftermarket sector is well-positioned to take a leadership role in promoting change and in working to eliminate the barriers that women face working in traditionally male-dominated sectors. I am pleased to say that industry leaders in the automotive aftermarket sector have stepped up to the plate and have committed their support for this important project.” – France Daviault, Senior Director of Industry Relations, AIA Canada -30- Download the FREE report on our website, bit.ly/awake-needs-assessment. Join the conversation online with the hashtag #awakeAIA.