Giving young people the work and life skills to succeed

Karl Herzog talks about how the non-profit Motive Action helps people take the first steps in careers in the trades

Karl Herzog is executive director of Motive Action.

Karl Herzog
Karl Herzog

What is Motive Action Training Foundation? When was it established? What does it do?

Herzog: Motive Action Training Foundation is a Calgary-based non-profit training organization. Since 1985, we have provided young Albertans with employment training, work experience and life management instruction. We help unskilled and underemployed people from all backgrounds so that they can take the first step into a career in the trades.

Our free 24-week program combines onsite shop and classroom training and offsite work experience with industry employers, preparing our students for entry-level trades jobs.

Why and how did you get involved in this?

Herzog: I’m a licensed heavy-duty mechanic. In my working career I had seen a lot of young people having challenges in life and in getting what they needed in order to start a career. I felt it was important to give back and do what I can to help. My brother and I then started Motive Action in 1985.

How important is it for the Alberta economy to train more skilled labour?

Herzog: In this particular time there’s a great need for young people to receive training because many of our tradespeople are older and getting close to retirement. Employers are looking for young people to fill these jobs because these trades continue to be in high demand.

What industries are particularly suited for what you do and your purpose?

Herzog: We provide training for entry-level jobs as automotive service technicians, heavy-duty technicians, auto body technicians, welders and metal fabricators. These trades provide great opportunities for skilled workers.

The trades are challenging, the work is interesting, and your career can take you anywhere in Canada. There are a lot of ways to move up in your career in these trades and you can even potentially own your own business one day.

For our purpose, we believe that these trades equip young people with work skills and life skills that will take them far in life if they put in the work.

We’ve worked with great employer partners all over Calgary over the years who have helped us ensure the success of our students as they get started in their new careers.

How many Albertans get free skills training a year? And how does that number compare to previous years?

Herzog: At Motive Action, we help approximately 85 young Albertans every year, made possible with the help of funding provided by the government of Alberta and the government of Canada.

– Mario Toneguzzi

Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald, including 12 years as a senior business writer.


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