Conestoga news

April 25, 2003 10:20 AM

General Motors Vehicle Donation Aids Apprentices

Waste not; want not, because there are always opportunities for learning.

When Mark Cullen, General Manager of Barry Cullen Chev-Olds of Guelph, recently visited the Automotive Service Technician apprenticeship program at the Guelph campus of Conestoga College, he didn't arrive empty-handed.

On behalf of General Motors, he presented a 1999 Chevrolet Malibu to the program, to aid in the practical instruction of motor vehicle apprentices. And even though the vehicle has seen previous educational service, it is welcomed by program faculty.

In 1999, GM Oshawa originally donated the Malibu to the motive power trades programs at Fanshawe College in London for use as a practical teaching tool. When the vehicle became available, both GM and Conestoga were happy to see it secure an extended useful life.

Faculty member Jeff Oakes observes that although the vehicle has suffered some wear and tear, the operational systems such as fuel injection, electrical and emissions are still in excellent condition. Knowledge and understanding of these systems, and the ability to diagnose and repair system problems is central to the training of apprentices in Automotive Service Technician. Both Oakes and Cullen comment that many vehicles manufactured by GF|M after 1999 have similarly engineered systems, and that well-trained apprentices have to be familiar not only with many vehicle makes and models, but also with older vehicles as much as newer ones.

Each year, approximately 300 automotive apprentices upgrade and enhance their skills at Conestoga, which is one of Ontario's largest colleges for apprenticeship learning in fields as divers as automotive service, plumbing, electrical skills, tool and die making, millwrighting, machining, welding and carpentry.

CONTACT: Jeff Oakes or Stu Hood, 519-824-9390, ext. 162.