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Auto glass shop advocates for apprentices

Giving back to the trade he’s been working in for more than 40 years is important to John Dudley, owner of Apple Auto Glass in Nanaimo.

Giving back to the trade he’s been working in for more than 40 years is important to John Dudley, owner of Apple Auto Glass in Nanaimo. An important part of that commitment is being an employer sponsor with Industry Training Authority (ITA) and taking on apprentices to help them develop their skills as automotive glass technicians. 

ITA’s apprenticeship program gives John what he needs: qualified installers. “In the auto industry, everything has to be done to specs, and you need qualified people to do it,” said John. “Without the training, you can’t get them. With the ITA program, people are trained, and things are done right. I have qualified staff who are working for something.”

Neil Lynch did his apprenticeship at Apple Auto Glass and earned his ticket this past summer. The shop’s other two apprentices, Jake Lynch and Zack Byron, finished their technical training at Vancouver Island University (VIU) in Nanaimo and passed the ITA exam in the summer. Now, they just need to finish their work-based training hours at the shop to get their tickets. 

A couple of years ago, Vancouver Community College was the only training provider with frequent offerings of the automotive glass technician program. Auto shops outside the Lower Mainland found it challenging to get their staff trained due to wait lists and travel costs. The Automotive Retailers Association, ITA, and regional training providers worked together to find an effective solution, and as of 2018, VIU, Okanagan College in Kelowna, and College of New Caledonia (CNC) in Prince George began offering automotive glass technician training on a more regular basis. 

In addition, the VIU and CNC programs are a combination of classroom learning and online modules, which improves access to training.

“Bringing the training out to the regions was huge. Otherwise, I would have had to shut down the shop for a week to get my staff trained,” said John. “This program works out really well because it’s a combination of online and in the classroom. During downtime in the shop, [the apprentices] can do it online using the computer in the back. And if they have any questions, there are experienced people in the shop that can help. We’re able to give everyone the support they need.”

John advises other shops to look into the apprenticeship program and becoming an employer sponsor with ITA. 

“It’s well worth it. It’s beneficial for companies. Knowing that the person working on their vehicle is good gives customers peace of mind. And it gives me peace of mind knowing that the vehicle leaving here is in the proper condition and done properly.” 

Do you know an apprentice or employer champion?

The Champions of Apprenticeship are recognized for their outstanding achievements in BC apprenticeship system. These Champions are celebrated for their hard work in creating certified tradesworkers, supporting their industry and promoting apprenticeship. Do you know an outstanding employer sponsor or apprentice? Send us an email and nominate them to become a Champion of Apprenticeship!

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