Students Train for Automotive Service and Auto Body Technician Careers by Fixing Total Loss Vehicles
It all started with a Pontiac Sunfire in 2002. Since then, nearly 250 vehicles have been repaired by Saskatchewan Polytechnic Automotive Service and Auto Body Technician certificate students.
Today, a long-running but little-known partnership between Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) Salvage and Saskatchewan Polytechnic was celebrated at Saskatoon campus.
For 15 years, SGI has supplied vehicles to Automotive Service Technician and Auto Body Technician certificate programs.
“This program is a win-win; students get hands-on experience fixing damaged vehicles that could otherwise end up in salvage or scrap yards, and SGI customers benefit by reduced costs,” Saskatoon Westview MLA David Buckingham said on behalf of Minister Responsible for SGI Joe Hargrave.
The total-loss vehicles — ones that would cost more to repair in a commercial shop than the vehicle is worth — are repaired by students in Sask Polytech’s automotive shops at Saskatoon and Regina campuses. SGI also supplies parts used in the repairs, mostly from salvage. Fixed vehicles are sold or are used by SGI employees who need to travel in the course of their work, which helps keep costs low for customers.
All repaired vehicles receive a body integrity inspection and a second stage mechanical inspection before they are allowed back on the road.
By using total-loss vehicles from SGI, students get to work on current model vehicles that the industry repairs on a daily basis. Students enter the workforce with relevant training, which benefits them and their future employers. SGI supplies 30 to 40 vehicles per year to Sask Polytech. Damaged vehicles used in the program are matched to the students’ level of training.
“The SGI and Saskatchewan Polytechnic partnership is the first of its kind in Canada,” Saskatchewan Polytechnic President and CEO Dr. Larry Rosia said. “We are pioneers in this area of collaboration and training. The hands-on learning our students receive through working on total-loss cars from SGI is invaluable, and will help to increase their job-readiness upon graduating. Other post-secondary institutions have approached us for support to create similar programs in their provinces.”
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