“What I would like students to come in knowing what they want to do for a living,” says David Weatherhead coordinator and instructor in the Automotive Service Technician Apprenticeship Canadian Tire MAP 32 at Centennial College. “If they know that they want to be automotive service technicians and they want to work for a Canadian company that’s progressive and has lots of business and opportunities across the country, that’s about the best things they can do. Ideally, I’d like them to be working with a Canadian Tire store. However, that’s not a necessity.” In addition, students applying to this undertaking must present at minimum an Ontario Secondary School Diploma or GED or equivalent. For this automotive service technician apprenticeship, candidates may apply directly to Centennial College. As space in the program is limited, acceptance is based on successful completion of all entry requirements. Successful applicants must obtain an employer and then register as a MAP apprentice with the Apprenticeship Branch of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.
“What makes this program unique is that it’s sponsored by Canadian Tire which gives us tools and equipment. Because they’re not automotive manufacturers they don’t give us vehicles or anything like that but tools and equipment and all of the resources they have to train the people in all the stores across the country,” Weatherhead says of the unique one-year automotive service technician training collaboration with Canadian Tire and its Associate Dealers, which employ 58,000 people and have 482 stores from coast-to-coast. “Apprenticeship programs are so different from post-secondary programs in the fact that they’re very focused on a curriculum that is province-wide. It satisfies everyone at every level to be able to say they are getting what they need to be a licensed technician.”
The in-school portion of the automotive service technician apprenticeship is facilitated from Ashtonbee Campus, which is a fully-equipped transportation training centre. It is actually the biggest training centre of its sort in Ontario. During this time, students attend classes such as: Work Practices and Procedures, Engine Systems, Drivetrain Systems, Steering, Suspension & Brake Systems; Electrical, Electronics & Fuel Systems and more.
Meanwhile, the four offered weeks of on the job training gives students the opportunity to face real life scenarios, apply what they have learned, network and gain insight into the industry from seasoned professionals.
Canadian Tire offers customers a large selection of national and retail brands through three specialty categories in which the organization is the market leader — automotive parts, accessories and service; sports and leisure products; and home products. Also offered are automotive services such as engines fixes, brake changes, windshield wipers and fluid level checks, and muffler, hose, belt and plug replacements. Essentially, if a repair is needed, it’s up to Canadian Tire technicians who have attended an automotive service technician apprenticeship to find a way to get it done.