Toronto, Ontario -- April 7, 2014 -- The AYCE Pre-apprenticeship Training for Auto Body Collision and Damage Repair program kicked off its 5th anniversary today with an event at Toronto’s Metro Hall. On hand were numerous members of the collision repair industry, students registered in this year’s program, past graduates and special guests. 

 

 

 
The event began with a short introductory video recapping highlights from the program’s first five years, followed with a short introduction delivered by Nimo Abdulkadir, Director of AYCE Employment Services. Flavio Battilana, Chief Operating Officer for CSN, followed with the first industry presentation of the day. Battilana discussed CSN’s history as an organization, and the company’s long relationship with the AYCE program. He also touched on what would be a common theme for the day: the value of persistence. 
 
“It’s not an easy trade,” said Battilana. “But it’s a rewarding trade. There are a lot of opportunities for young people who are willing to work hard.”
 
Battilana introduced the next speaker, Jason Burnett, 2008 Silver Medalist at the Beijing Olympics for Trampoline. 
 
Burnett provided insight into the life and early career of an Olympic medalist, again reinforcing the theme of persistence. His story of the Beijing Olympics is a story of how various challenges almost led to him getting knocked out of competition before the finals, but how perseverance eventually led to the podium and a Silver medal win for Canada. 
 
Next up were Mohammed and Usman Baurawa, two brothers who participated in the program in different years. Both discussed how participating in AYCE’s program has opened doors and put them on the path to a long-term career in the autobody industry. In fact, Mohammed is currently studying something new: how to do his boss’s job as floor manager of the facility where he works. 
 
Wayne James of Maaco Canada followed, highlighting Maaco’s support of the AYCE program over the last five years. James notes how he and Marc Tremblay of AYCE Employment Services collaborated to expand on the training offered to program participants by utilizing Maaco’s training facility in Milton, Ont., and the growth over the years of the toolbox given to participants. 
 
Two AYCE graduates, Lorne Jakcson and Carlos Juco, followed James, with each discussing how the program has helped to change their lives and provide them with a career path. 
 
Marc Tremblay introduced the final speaker of the day, John Norris of Collision Industry Information Assistance (CIIA). Norris noted how it is not necessarily recruitment that should concern the industry, but retention. He highlighted how one of the major challenges is not signing up new students, but in ensuring those students make it to school. Norris congratulated the AYCE program on helping to do just that. 
 
Tremblay capped off the event by thanking John Norris and the other speakers, as well as thanking the numerous collision repair facilities and organizations who have helped to make the program a success. 
 
“If the industry hadn’t believe in AYCE, we wouldn’t have lasted five years,” said Tremblay. 
 
The event concluded with the cutting of a custom cake, donated by Annie and Dot Keeps it Sweet Desserts. 
 
For more information on AYCE, please visit AYCE.on.ca. 
 

 

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