You could say Alwayne Allicock has motor oil coursing in his veins – after all, he’s been intimately involved with cars since he was 11 – but what you can’t call him is a licensed automotive technician.
That’s because Allicock, 23, never completed his Grade 12 diploma in Ontario, the very document he and everyone else needs to register as an auto apprentice in this province.
Surprisingly, the automotive skilled trades — historically, a destination for young men and women who want to work with their hands — are off limits to students who haven’t completed high school.
That is until now.
Centennial College has launched Pathways To The Automotive Trades, a unique tuition-free college program that allows youth aged 18 to 24 to earn their high school equivalency credits and gain entry to the auto trades.
“It’s a way for young people who never got around to finishing high school to do so, while preparing for an automotive apprenticeship,” says Laurie Malabar, who is overseeing the program at Centennial.
The 18-week college program immerses students in math, English and physics, as well as introduces them to concepts and skills they will use in an auto repair facility.
“It really is intended for young men and women who want a career in the automotive trades,” says Malabar. “They should be keen about getting their hands dirty.”
At the end of the term, students can apply to Centennial’s Pre-apprenticeship program or any other college program, or consider entering the workforce as a pre-apprentice (the school will help them with the job search).
Malabar says the program addresses an obstacle in the Ontario high school curriculum that requires students to self-identify as apprenticeship candidates in Grade 10 — a major decision some students don’t always make in time.
“If they miss that window of opportunity to branch into the apprenticeship stream in Grade 10, they can really mess up their career trajectory,” says Malabar.
Allicock agrees. He had worked in his uncle’s auto parts store since he was a kid, but wasn’t aware he had missed the chance to start his apprenticeship in Grade 10.
“The jobs I ended up doing after high school didn’t pay much,” says Allicock. “I realized I needed to get an apprenticeship to learn the trade and make a professional wage.”
Full-fledged apprenticeship consists of on-the-job training with an employer for pay, combined with related in-class studies. To get there, Allicock will have to retrace his steps.
He’s happy to attend college and complete his Grade 12 equivalency, even if he’s way past high school age.
“I’m excited to get back into school, and the great thing is Centennial’s program cuts through the red tape keeping me from my goals.”
Classes begin Nov. 12. For more details, contact Laurie Malabar at 416-289-5000, ext. 4350.