Each year, over a dozen district students get a chance to bypass a year of apprenticeship with teacher Kim Or's Automotive Service Technicians ACE IT district program. The program, a partnership between the VSB and Vancouver Community College, allows students to get a head start on their auto tech careers, all under the tutelage of Kim Or, a red seal technician and trained teacher at Britannia Secondary.
Or's teaching space is divided between a classroom where theory is taught and a fully equipped garage decked out with all sorts of tools along with three vehicles in various states of disassembly. Or says the program strives to give students a hands-on and authentic experience of what work as a tech is like. Over the ten month program, students will pick up safe work practices, automotive technical info and put their analytical mind to work each day.
In addition, they'll learn to test and service gasoline engines, electrical systems and drive line/drive axels, transmission maintenance as well as diagnostic procedures. Students will also get an introduction to the basics of welding.
By the end of the program, students can challenge the Level 1 Automotive Service Technician Exam, a requirement for any first year apprentice. By taking the district's route, students save big. First year tuition for a first year auto tech apprentice adds up to $2,900 in tuition at college.
"Trades are recession proof and enrolling in an ACE IT program while in high school will save you thousands of dollars compared to taking it after high school," says Or. "It will give you a head start in an exciting career that is changing rapidly year to year."
The programs graduation rate is impressive and Or says he frequently bumps into students who've gone on to earn their red seal and are working successfully as technicians in industry. He says this is one of the most rewarding aspects of his job.
To learn more about the ACE IT Auto Technician Program, click here.
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