A shortage of qualified technicians is slowing down the pace at which collision repair shops can fix damaged vehicles.

A series of winter storms over the last two months has helped to highlight the industry’s shortage in skilled auto repair workers.

“I just don't have the help, right. So everything gets backed-up. Especially when it's snowing,” said Dave Low, owner of Wolf Collision.

At some shops right now, it can take up to two weeks before customers can expect to have their bent fenders fixed. At Wolf Collision it will take up to a month. The waiting list at some other shops is even longer.

“We never stop. It just never stops,” said Alix Hare, a second year apprentice at Wolf Collision.  

“I can be working on three to four cars at once.” 

It's a problem across the industry and many people are in the same boat. Some are looking as far away as the United Kingdom to find qualified people.

“It is extremely hard to get qualified technicians in our market right now,” said Kelvin Campbell, owner of Chapman Auto Body.

“As far as getting skilled people, you’ve got to either take them from somebody else, or you have to take them from out of province, or even out of country, for that matter,” he said.

It’s a country-wide issue as the current workforce is getting older. 

Meanwhile, community colleges are trying to churn out replacements, but so far it’s not enough. 

The Fall 2013 enrolment count in the auto collision repair and refinishing program at Nova Scotia Community College was 34 people.