So, you have a job in the collision industry. Do you know what that really means?

If you took the college or vocational school route—did your educators inform you of the various paths a career as a painter or technician could put you on? If you’re currently an apprentice, do your mentors grumble and groan about how they’ll be ‘stuck’ here forever, or look to stories about those who saw opportunity elsewhere in the industry and grabbed the chance? Has anyone ever shown you how dynamic this industry can be—how, each day, you’re bound to learn something new?

It’s been brought to this magazine’s attention that plenty of young entrants to the industry are unaware of the various paths a career in collision repair can put you on. Contrary to popular belief, you are not necessarily bound to a life of painting cars after you’ve collected your Red Seal certs. For some, life on the production floor is simply the beginning.

The experience of working as an automotive painter or technician provides a foundation for countless roles in our sector. Plenty of managers, facility owners and multi-shop operators once started on the production floor. The different paths are truly endless—you could grow to have your own collision centre or restoration business; move into aerospace applications, if you make the right connections; find a job as a supplier and travel the globe representing your paint-brandof- choice—the list goes on and on. There are so many things you can do with a background in automotive repair and refinishing.

Dorien Lozeau and Abigail King provide two examples of where autobody can take you—and it didn’t take either of them that long to achieve their tremendous accolades. They’ll each be representing Canada on the global stage this Fall, networking and competing amongst some of the best young painters and technicians in the trade. They’ve each earned the right to call themselves the best young reps of their trade that Canada has to offer—Dorien, the best young painter and Abigail, the best young tech—but now they’ll have the chance to jetset internationally, all because they’re really good at their jobs. Look to this issue’s Q&A with restorers for yet another example of where the trade can take you. With the right gumption, heaps of passion and an auto repair skillset, you, too, could one day operate your own resto ’biz.

There are far more paths than those outlined in this letter, too. The automotive industry is bursting with creativity; as are its members. Take a little of that creativity for yourself and see where it takes you.

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