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VCC offers a promising path to apprenticeships

Posted on December 1, 2018

News-COLLISION - REFINISHING-047-800

Originally published in Star Metro Vancouver

From Nov. 4 to 10, British Columbians celebrated Apprentice Recognition Week — an opportunity to acknowledge the hard-working and talented tradespeople and apprentices who participate in formal apprenticeship training. 

One of those apprentices is Vancouver Community College (VCC) student Tyhree Nguyen-Serrano, who is making her way through the various levels of automotive collision repair technician apprentice training. 

“Everyone at VCC is so nice and supportive, which makes things so much easier,” says Nguyen-Serrano of her experience. “Overall, it’s been a great experience.” 

While various apprenticeship opportunities exist at VCC, Nguyen-Serrano entered through ACE IT (now called Youth Train In Trades) — a dual-credit program that enables secondary school students to earn high school graduation credits and the opportunity to receive credit for the first level of the technical training in an Industry Training Authority program, which may lead to apprenticeship. Through this pathway, Nguyen-Serrano completed the eight-month automotive collision repair technician - high school program. 

“This program leaves you with a career and without ACE IT, I honestly don’t know where I would be,” says Nguyen-Serrano. 

The automotive collision repair technician - high school program is divided into two levels and contains a number of modules grouped into major competencies, during which students use modern equipment and techniques to gain industry-appropriate skills. 

It culminates in an eight-week industry work practicum and gives students the opportunity to not only gain 480 hours of work-based training credits towards Level 1 apprenticeship but also to write the Level 1 technical exam.

“We had a combination of theory and hands-on practice,” says Nguyen-Serrano, who is now back at VCC completing the five-week automotive collision repair technician apprentice, which advances apprentices’ skills in repairing a wide variety of auto body surfaces. 

“There are demo vehicles and you get to use all the tools you find in real shops, so they do a great job of preparing you for the real world.”

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