“All of the students who qualify to enter have to be working at a General Motors dealer,” says instructor Peter Locken of the General Motors Technician undertaking at Centennial College in Toronto, Ont. “It is a co-op program where students end up spending eight weeks in class and then eight weeks at the dealership, hopefully getting experience in the areas they’ve just spent time getting trained in. Before they leave here, they’re going to go through all the training that would qualify them to be a technician. So once they walk out of here they will end up receiving 20 credits that go towards their technician training. They’re also going to be specifically trained on General Motors products as well as get all the general training that they would with a general apprenticeship program.”
The GM technician training application process requires students to have completed at minimum an Ontario Secondary School Diploma or a GED or equivalent. As Peter mentioned, students must also be employed by a General Motors dealership. However, if they are not, they may also be selected through an interview process. Interested parties can apply directly to the College. Once they’ve been accepted, they’ll have to obtain an employer and register as a MAP apprentice with the Apprenticeship Branch of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Acceptance to the GM Automotive Service Tech program is based on successful completion of all entry requirements and space is limited.
The combination of in-school sessions and experience with an employer offered in the GM technician training program lasts 64 weeks in total, which results in more in-depth study than a regular apprenticeship. The in-school portion encompasses all of the latest GM vehicle systems, with emphasis on diagnosis and repair, following recommended GM service procedures. A large portion of the program involves vehicle electrical and electronic systems diagnosis and repair. These GM Technician training in-school sessions are facilitated from Ashtonbee Campus. This facility is houses high-tech tools used in the field and actual vehicles that have been donated, on which students can practice. The campus is the largest transportation training centre in the province.
The time-with-an-employer portion of the GM technician training occurs after students are comfortable with certain aspects of being an automotive service technician. That way, students are able apply their new knowledge and soak up the tips from seasoned professionals who already have experience in the field. During this time, students are compensated for their work.
Upon graduation, General Motors technicians perform many tasks, including: diagnosing problems using General Motors diagnostic equipment as well as performing repairs and preventive maintenance on engines, transmissions, electrical systems, brakes and tires.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects job growth in Automotive Service Technology by 14 per cent from 2006 through 2016.