|Carlo Juco, Marc Tremblay and Richard Marsh at the 2014 AYCE pre-apprenticeship registration.|
Toronto, Ontario -- March 6, 2014 -- Registration for AYCE's 2014 pre-apprenticeship auto body program is off to a strong start following its launch at Brimell Group Paint & Collision Center~CSN.
"It's really good that the industry is opening its arms to us. It keeps motivating us to push the envelope a little bit more," says AYCE pre-apprenticeship training program Coordinator Marc Tremblay."It's key for people like Brimell to give students the chance to find out what they're good at by trying out the different jobs available to them."
AYCEâ€™s programs target youth who have faced personal and academic challenges throughout their lives and gives them the chance to build a future they can be happy in. The program is six weeks long and immerses them in various aspects of the collision industry before ending with 12 weeks of classes at Centennial College.
The 2014 pre-apprentice auto body program has already amassed over 125 registrations, with a second registration day at Martino Brothers Collision~CSN set for March 7, 2014. Tremblay says they've really turned up the intensity for their 2014 efforts, hoping to build upon the successes of the 2013 program which saw all 18 students graduate. Tremblay is proud to note as well that of the 18, 16 are still employed in the trade and he's sure this year's students will not disappoint.
"AYCE is confident that all of our students will make it to Red Seal status," he says. "Last year we got a 100 percent graduation rate, and the reason we've been successful is because of our partners."
Richard Marsh is the Manager of Paint and Collision Operations at the Brimell Group Paint & Collision Center~CSN in Toronto and he believes that if this past winter season should have taught the collision industry a singular lesson, it's that it needs more young, skilled technicians.
"One of the biggest problems today is that not enough people are coming into the trade," says Marsh. "It's absolutely critical to support AYCE because the lack of skilled technicians is the highest it's ever been, and one of the many nice things about AYCE's program is that it has matured over the last five years and it's adding good young technicians every year."
For Tremblay, developing AYCE's pre-apprenticeship program has been a process that has reaped benefits. Celebrating its fifth anniverasary this April, Tremblay says they've been able to relish in their successes as they've built both the program and ultimately careers in collision repair for their students.
"We've been able to build up the program since the first year, which was a challenge because we had trouble getting our kids placed," Tremblay says."But now, we're getting phone calls from shops asking about our students, which is a testament to the success of the program."
Marsh attests to that fact and attributes the success of the program to both Tremblay and each year's students who work hard and are encouraged to push themselves.
"When they get into the shop, AYCE's students already have a feel for the shop atmosphere and they're given an insight into what the business is all about," he says, adding the positive comments he gets from their regulars says everything about the students' ever-blossoming abilities. "We get tremendous feedback from our customers for the work these kids do."
Marsh is happy to back his words, as he currently employs five former graduates of AYCE's program. One of those former AYCE graduates is Carlo Juco, who before entering the program had an interest in automotive design and worked in a custom car parts shop in the Phillippines. Upon arriving in Canada he discovered his university credentials--a bachelor of science in industrial design--didn't hold the same merit domestically. Enter AYCE.
"I was in one of the first classes in 2010 and it was overall a very good experience. They really encourage you to go back to school, and they teach you how things are actually done inside the shop. So when they place you after you graduate, you have that foundation of skills," says Juco.
Now an appraiser with the Brimell Group Paint & Collision Centre-CSN, Juco says he's gotten to where he is today because of AYCE's auto body pre-apprenticeship. And if you're looking for direction and happen to be passionate about the industry, Juco says you can't go wrong.
"It's great if you're looking for a career you can grow into and move up," he says.
Marsh says Juco's story is one of the program's great successes given where he came from and how he's grown into his administrative role. He also points to two other successes from AYCE's program in graduates Lorne Jackson and Stephen Walters.
Jackson, who has been with the company for a year-and-a-half and currently works as a body man, says the program really challenged him to come out of his comfort zone, moving from out of town into Toronto to take the pre-apprenticeship. Despite the challenge, being in the program taught him a very valuable lesson he readily communicates to new program registrees.
"The program taught me to believe in myself and that anything is possible," Jackson says. "It also taught me to never stop learning, because there's always a new way and you can learn something from 10 different technicians before you find your own style.
"Life is a learning experience, but what the program shows new students is the proper way to work in the trade and guides them towards becoming successful after they leave the program."
For Walters, a 2013 graduate of the program who currently works in prepping, AYCE's pre-apprenticeship auto body program gave him direction and something to strive for, knowing all he needed was a goal.
"I always knew that if I had something to work towards I would achieve it," says a self-confident Walters. "This program opened doors for me, and I looked at it as a path to my future."
Despite his confidence, it was also Tremblay's guiding hand throughout the entire process that made the difference.
"Marc has helped me the entire way, and he will always help me," says Walters. "He's still there to help me whenever I need advice."
Tremblay's penchant for mentorship was also felt by Juco who has benefitted from his guidance both before and after his graduation from AYCE.
"After I got placed Marc still looked out for me," Juco says, smiling. "There was a point where I wanted to quit, and he encouraged me to hold on, keep going and that this will all lead somewhere.
"And he wasn't lying."
Even after five years of developing the program, Tremblay doesn't waver, working every day to push his kids that extra step knowing brighter horizons aren't too far off in the distance. That knowledge, and seeing it happen, makes their success despite early struggles that much sweeter.
"The reward is knowing we're turning these guys' lives around, that motivates me," he says. "Seeing guys like Carlo working here, my biggest thrill is seeing them succeed."
A second registration event took place on Friday at Martino Brothers Collision~CSN's location on Dixon Rd. Co-owners Jack and Vince Martino have direct experience with the AYCE program, having employed many of its graduates. In fact, one of the facility's newest employees is a graduate.
"Nelson James came to us through the AYCE program," says Jack. "He's been working as a preppr and he's a good kid, smart and hard-working. We all know it's hard to find experienced technicians. The AYCE program helps encourage our future workforce. This is a fantastic program that more shops should be aware of."
For more information on AYCE, please visit AYCE.on.ca. You can seem photos from the event at Martino Brothers Collision~CSN in the gallery below.