Advertising Feature



Pre-apprenticeship students get a close look at the road-going technology that motivates a hoisted vehicle in Centennial College’s automotive labs at Ashtonbee Campus.


Planning to become a skilled automotive or truck technician? Finding an employer to sponsor your apprenticeship training can be a daunting first step without a good command of English and some contacts.


To smooth the road to employment, Centennial College offers two pre-apprenticeship training programs to help students improve their literacy and job-search skills, as well as to arrange a 12-week job placement at an auto repair shop, car dealership or truck repair facility.

The programs are tuition-free, thanks to funding by the Ontario government.

Students can choose between automotive pre-apprenticeship and truck and coach technician training. Both 36-week programs give students hands-on practice under the hood, along with English and job-readiness skills.

“Apprenticeship is a major employment growth area due to the large number of skilled workers who are getting ready to retire,” says Graham Sparrow, Centennial’s co-ordinator of pre-apprenticeship programs. “The government is offering significant tax credits to encourage employers to hire more apprentices for skills training.

“This past year we received strong support from the heavy-duty and power lift truck industry for our truck and coach technician pre-apprenticeship program.”

While the pre-apprenticeship programs are tuition-free, students pay a deposit on textbooks and tools. Deposits are returned at the end of the program if they’re successful, and students get to keep their starter tool set. They also may be eligible to collect employment insurance while at college.

Graduates will receive credit for automotive service technician Level 1 or truck and coach technician Level 1, which exempts them from some classes in the traditional apprenticeship program.

“We assigned everyone who qualified in work placements, and almost all have stayed on with their employers,” says Sparrow of last year’s students.

After working for a while, apprentices return to college for further training as they accumulate hours toward their Certificate of Apprenticeship, designating them “licensed” technicians in Ontario.

To be eligible for entry, students must have their Grade 12 diploma or equivalent from another country, as well as a valid Ontario driver’s licence (G1 minimum). Students must also be legally permitted to work.

Centennial is hosting public information sessions in January and February for those interested in pre-apprenticeship. Evening sessions start at 6:30 and will take place on Monday, Jan. 28, Feb. 4 and 11, and Wednesday, Feb. 20.

The sessions and the programs will take place at Centennial’s Ashtonbee Campus, 75 Ashtonbee Rd. (Eglinton Avenue East/Warden Avenue) in Scarborough. Participants will get a tour of the automotive labs, which are Canada’s largest with more than 3,000 automotive apprentices attending classes annually.

Applications are being accepted until Feb. 20 for classes starting March 10.

For details, call Graham Sparrow at 416-289-5000, ext. 7256, or e-mail