A Community and Employer Partnerships program with a successful history of helping unemployed individuals find high-paying careers as retail automotive sales professionals is being funded again in the Lower Mainland.

The Douglas College Retail Automotive Sales Training Program, which provided 36 Lower Mainland job-seekers paid training and work experience in 2015, has begun again, thanks to nearly $340,000 in funding from the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation’s Community and Employer Partnerships fund through Project-Based Labour Market Training.

The 2015 program saw 29 participants find jobs in the industry after they completed their training. Some of those participants have since moved into management positions at dealerships. The 2016 program has now begun with the goal being to help even more participants find full-time work.

Over the next year, up to 35 participants new to the industry will be receiving employability and skills training in sales techniques and customer service, including on-the-job work experience at auto dealerships to become licensed to sell vehicles in British Columbia. They are also learning advanced sales strategies and negotiation skills in a classroom setting as they attain a Douglas College certificate of completion in retail automotive sales training.

Benefitting from working under experienced industry leaders and hearing from guest speakers, the participants will gain essential skills needed to find work as auto sales professionals once the program is complete in March 2017.

Douglas College has partnered with several Lower Mainland auto dealerships and the New Car Dealerships Association of BC to provide work experience opportunities.

Project-Based Labour Market Training is a component of the Employment Program of BC’s Community and Employer Partnerships. It provides funding to organizations to assist with local projects that provide a combination of on and/or off the job employment training to eligible participants to help them obtain sustainable employment.

To date, more than 1,300 job seekers have benefited from work experience and more than 250 projects have been funded throughout the province.