Youth Benefits from Free Training in Trades



    By Sheena Manabat

    Jan Pierre Acido left high school with no idea of what to do next, but a free employment program has him working in the trades – without any student loans.

    Acido is a recent graduate of the Motive Action Automotive pre-employment program and was recently hired at Calgary Car Kings is now working on automotive performance, suspension and exhaust upgrades.

    The 21-year-old pinoy from Asingan is grateful for the opportunity with Motive Action, where he had a positive experience in training with their educators.

    “It was a different kind of learning experience,” Acido explains. “Iit’s a lot more free-flowing, the group is tight knit and the teachers become your friends.”

    He explains he graduated high school without a career path, but was looking into SAIT programs. While looking for jobs on Kijiji to help pay for his tuition, he found an ad for Motive Action.

    Motive Action is a Calgary-based non-profit organization that provides hands-on work training for those between 18 and 30 entering the trades.

    Their free program is six months long and alternates between work experience with partner employers, and training at Motive Action. Eighty to 100 students are enrolled each year and 95 per cent of graduates gain full-time employment once they have completed the training. Over the last two years 14 Filipino students have enrolled in Motive Action.

    The work experience is unpaid but, the tuition costs for the entire program is covered by the Alberta Labour and the Government of Canada. Eligible students can also still receive funding such as Employment Insurance or learner income support.

    “There’s basically no tuition fee as long as you meet the requirements and the program is very welcoming to people,” Acido says. “I think the program is perfect for people who want to get started in a career but don’t have a certification and need a boost.”

    The program does have its challenges though, Acido says, like getting used to the work environment and the experience of transitioning from a classroom to an actual workplace.

    Acido cautions going into the program thinking that a job is guaranteed. Instead, he says you must have the right attitude and be serious about training and study.

    “If you put a lot of effort into it, you’ll definitely find success,” Acido says.


    Motive Action executive director Karl Herzog, agrees. Herzog is a licensed heavy duty mechanic and co-founded Motive Action with his brother in 1985. He explains students learn a combination of hard and soft skills.

    “Students learn how to get along with people and the importance of developing good work ethic, reliability, hard work, respect for others and honesty” Herzog says.

    The most challenging part is learning the trade especially in the first few years, he says. However, many find themselves with a well-paying career if they are willing to put in the time and the work, he adds.

    “The people we bring in really do need to be focused and have a strong interest in the trade and understanding of what it takes to be successful,” Herzog says.

    Herzog says Filipinos have flourished in the program.

    “We find work ethic among Filipinos to be among the highest of the people that we work with,” Herzog says. “There’s certainly a high level of responsibility for family and they know the importance of supporting them.”

    Motive Action offers monthly intakes, with 60 minute information sessions offered every Monday to Thursday 10:00 am at Motive Action’s facility at 1201 42 Ave SE Calgary.

    To learn more, visit