Graduates of UFV’s Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing program are in extremely high demand.

Graduates of UFV’s Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing program are in extremely high demand.

A collision course with success at UFV

Only four years into existence at UFV’s Trades and Technology Centre, the 34-week program boasts new equipment.

  • May. 30, 2013 11:00 a.m.

Driven to make ordinary cars extraordinary and bring beaten classics back to life, graduates of UFV’s Automotive Collision Repair & Refinishing program are in extremely high demand.

Best of all, room remains in the fall semester for the next round of highly qualified autobody repair and paint specialists.

Only four years into existence at UFV’s Trades and Technology Centre, the 34-week program boasts new equipment that includes a pro-quality paint booth and English wheel (for creating compound curves). Using these tools and more, the 18-student core often gels quickly, explains instructor Nick Penner, who’s called weekly by potential employers looking for capable apprentices willing to work towards journeyman status, allowing employment anywhere in Canada.

“It opens up a lot of doors,” Penner says.

“There’s just so much work waiting out there.”

Recent projects include a 1967 Mustang, 1953 Mercury pickup, and the ground-up restoration of a 1971 GMC truck — perfect training grounds for the red-hot custom car industry, with Penner pointing to one local shop so backed up it has a five-year wait list.

With the average tech nearing retirement, the window is closing for employers to ensure hard-earned practical knowledge is passed down to the next generation.

“If you’re a shop owner looking for a guy you’d better start now,” Penner says.

The majority of vehicles improved in UFV’s program belong to students themselves, supplemented by a small fleet of cars, trucks and machinery, says Penner, pointing out it’s very rare the class would work on vehicles from the general public.

“We don’t want to take work away from outside collision shops.”

Following program completion, work can include anything from semi-trucks to seaplanes. Opportunities also arise outside the shop doors as paint or product representatives.

For more information, visit ufv.ca/automotive_collision_repair, call Penner at 604-847-5420 or e-mail nick.penner@ufv.ca.

Sample topics:

  • Safe work practices
  • Technical information
  • Tools and equipment
  • Hardware and trim
  • Surface preparation
  • Oxy-acetylene welding
  • MIG welding
  • Sheet metal repair
  • Plastics and composites
  • Undercoats
  • Topcoats