The transportation industry: Become the expert
When I was in college, I opted to live at home, and drove into school in a beat-up old Saturn station wagon. One morning, my car broke down on the way to classes, shutting off at a stoplight and refusing to turn back on. Luckily, my family was around to have it towed to our local garage. Eventually, we got it fixed, the mechanics got paid, and I was back on the road. After the incident, I remember my mother saying something to me that I still think about: “Thank god there are people out there that actually know how these things work.”
The next time you’re around your car, or your family or friend’s car, pop open the hood and have a look at the engine. Unless you’re an expert, you probably have no idea how any of what you’re looking at works, or worse, what to do if any of it breaks. However, there lingers the perception that skilled trades are for people who haven’t done well in school, who can’t make it into more “legitimate” jobs. Yet, it’s funny how reliant we are upon them when that tire goes flat, or the engine sputters and dies. This post on the Humble Mechanic discusses this perception problem, and how mechanics should be (and sometimes are) more respected for their specialized skills and knowledge.
If you can become one of those experts, you’ll be the one every car owner goes to, with a career that will last as long as automobiles do. Like any trade, automotive repair represents skilled knowledge of something that everyone uses, but most people can’t figure out on their own.
In reality, trades like this are where the money is, because in that moment when someone’s car comes to pieces, they’ll need someone with those specific skills more than anything else. There’s even a personal angle to this, too. You can use those skills to fix your own car.
At Centennial College, there are a few different ways to enter this career field, all coming from our School of Transportation. They all offer extensive, job-ready skills-based training that makes use of Ashtonbee Campus labs where students get to practice their skills on the engines and equipment they’ll be working on in their eventual career.
If you’re looking to learn about cars, there’s the Automotive Power Technician program, which has both Technical and Administrative paths to train you to work in or run a shop. If you want something more specialized, there’s Autobody Repair, Autobody Repair Techniques and even Automotive Painting.
But more vehicles than just cars need repair, so you can also enroll in Truck and Coach programs as well as Motorcycle and Powersports Product Repair programs. No matter what you pick, there are opportunities for Co-op and Apprenticeship placements in each program. These involve training on the job with an employer, supplemented by college classes to teach you the theory. The instructors have current industry experience, and you’ll have the opportunity to work at modern, state-of-the-art labs and facilities both on and off-campus.
Working in the automotive repair field is a lucrative, rewarding field. It’ll make you an expert and the next time your own car breaks down, you won’t need to call anyone, because you’ll already know what to do.
By Anthony Geremia