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In the early 1980s when Doreen Wong, an instructor in Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) automotive collision repair technician program, decided to turn her love of cars into a career, she says that, as a woman, she faced various challenges.
Despite the negative reactions she received from some, Wong became a journeyperson certified in motor vehicle body repair, received her automotive paint certificate of qualification, and obtained her Red Seal designation. And, throughout her 30 years of industry experience, she says she has seen a welcome shift in the industry to one that is much more accepting and receptive of women.
“When I first started, a lot of men, even during job interviews, tried to turn me off from taking certain jobs, but I was stubborn and I really loved cars,” says Wong. “Eventually, I noticed an attitude shift and people became fascinated that I was able to do the job as well as anyone. Today, our female students are snapped up quickly. They are often very meticulous and detail-oriented and employers notice that.”
Since joining VCC’s Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing department in 2004, Wong has taught foundation and apprenticeship levels in-class, online, and via distance learning. She says no matter a student’s gender, she has the same words of wisdom for everyone.
“My advice is always to do their best but not be afraid to ask questions,” she says. “We want students to be well equipped when they enter the industry and that takes being curious and clarifying anything they don’t understand.”
VCC’s automotive collision and repair technician program offers training in a wide range of skills relevant to today’s advanced automobile collision repair industry.
Students learn the latest techniques in modern facilities with equipment they will encounter in the field.
The program is accredited for apprenticeship and graduates receive an industryrespected certificate.
Originally published in Metro News Vancouver (print edition)
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