Exploring a New Lane

in Automotive Trades 

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Ela Alejandrino moved to Canada over 10 years ago from the Philippines in search of a better future for her family. She recently took a trade sampler program to learn skills in the transportation trade industry.

When she was a young girl, Ela Alejandrino was fascinated with cars and even dreamed about being a race car driver one day. Flashforward to adulthood, she earned a degree in Hotel and Resort Management and worked within the hotel industry of her home country of the Philippines. In 2010, Ela moved to Canada with her husband and their young daughter.  

In 2020, she found an opportunity to join a Transportation Trade Sampler program that particularly encouraged women to sign up. This piqued Ela's childhood interest and she was curious to explore the basics of the automotive trades.  

Offered by Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS) in partnership with Vancouver Community College and SkilledTradesBC, the hands-on sampler program ran for 12 weeks from January to March 2021. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the instructors found ways to adjust and make the training both safe and effective for everyone involved.  

Students had the opportunity to learn various areas of transportation trades including auto collision and painting, heavy mechanical trades, and auto service technician.  

While Ela enjoyed all the projects, when asked what her favourite part of the program was, she said “If I’m gonna choose, my top three would be painting and designing the fender, taking the engine apart, and driving the forklift and excavator.” 

Since the program has ended, Ela has been focused on finding an apprentice position and considering furthering her knowledge with a Foundations course.  

“Although things haven't been easy for me, I keep it in my heart to remind myself from time to time that me and my husband decided to move here to bring a better future for our two daughters. We love Canada. This is the perfect place to raise our kids, as they say, Canada is the land of opportunities.” 

One day, she would like to open her own business and pass on her expertise and knowledge to others.  

“If it is something that you are passionate about then by all means go for it, especially for those who are young, you have all the time to hone your skills. There's nothing more rewarding than having a job that you love to do and make sure you work to be the best at it.”