Training in the collision repair industry is essential at both the technician and shop level. It’s more than just knowing how to repair more complex vehicles. Today, technological advances are driving a distinct shift in technical requirements and moving things to the next level. Investing in the students of the future is essential in producing the top talent, which is critical to the success of collision repair centres. More and more we are seeing OEM’s moving to certification programs which ensures the technician, as well as the shop, meet the highest standards of excellence. How do we take the training of students to the next level along with their thorough knowledge of an OEM vehicle? BMW Group Canada has initiated an innovative and committed approach with a scholarship program designed specifically for a two-year, pre-apprenticeship college program.

BMW Group Canada in conjunction with their BMW Group Certified Collision Repair Centres (CCRC), is contributing $90,000 over 3 years to scholarships for the collision repair sector at three Canadian colleges; Vancouver Community College (VCC), Centennial College in Toronto and a trade school partner in the Montreal area with a view to expanding a similar program in Quebec this fall. The scholarship awards $5,000 to the top 3 students with an additional $2,000 for the next 2 top students. The BMW Group Canada Body & Paint Pre-Apprenticeship Scholarship Program is jointly funded program with participating CCRCs and is an OEM first.

The scholarship criteria are designed specifically for two-year, pre-apprenticeship college programs. Under the current agreement with VCC & Centennial College, the scholarships will have three intakes i.e. students who began the program in the fall of 2018, those who will begin in September 2019 and again in the fall of 2020. The program in Montreal will be slightly different in order to adhere to the provincial education guidelines unique to Quebec.

In order to qualify for the programs in Toronto and Vancouver, applicants must maintain a GPA of 85 percent throughout the program, as well as an 85 percent attendance record. They are also required to complete online BMW Group University courses and one in-class BMW Group Brand Academy session. The Montreal students are similarly judged and are qualified based on criteria such as student engagement, attendance and overall project/work quality and creativity. Scholarship candidates are required to complete a paid work term at a participating BMW Group CCRC.

At VCC and Centennial College, five students chosen by faculty members of the Automotive Collision and Refinish department will receive the $5000 BMW Group Body & Paint Pre-Apprentice Scholarship with the remaining two students receiving $2,000 upon completion of their diploma. The five applicants will be interviewed by BMW Group CCRCs before the end of their second semester and must be employees at a participating CCRC for a minimum three-month paid internship period after the first year of their college program. This provides students the insight into the world of modern BMW Group CCRCs and reinforces their choice of a career in specialized collision repair.

With the current network of 50 CCRCs growing by 3-4 shops per year, the need to find qualified and brand-ready body technicians increases. This is a sure way of investing in the students-and technicians of the future.



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