Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Enter the Auto Body Painting Field with Hands-On Experience

“Curriculum consists of at least 50 per cent labs where we simulate a real body shop environment,” says Daniel Trudy, the primary instructor of the Automotive Painter program at Centennial College. “There’s deadlines and quality requirements they have to meet. We do colour matching and tinting. We even touch on custom painting a small bit. We have a very state-of-the-art facility. We did an expansive renovation about two and a half years ago and we have very high-tech equipment, very high-tech procedures and we train the students to work in the automotive collision repair industry, which is the most common work placement that a student will be placed into.”

Daniel does a fantastic job of describing what the Automotive Painter program entails but let’s look at some of the specifics in more detail. First and foremost, if you are interested in applying for this auto body painting training, you must possess an Ontario Secondary School Diploma. In addition, you must be currently employed as an apprentice. For general information about apprenticeship registration, please contact the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

Once you are in the program, which takes four training periods of 1,800 hours with an employer and one eight-week college session to complete, you will find that the focus is on ensuring that you master the techniques, equipment and materials involved in modern automotive finishing and refinishing systems. This is conducted through the coverage of topics such as components, frames, panels and grills, holes and dents and other surface repairs, as well as applying topcoats, undercoats, primers and more.

As Daniel mentioned, the Automotive Painter in-school sessions are conducted out of the very high-tech labs at Ashtonbee Campus. This location is home to the largest automotive training centre in the province. Another impressive feature of the Automotive Painter program is its “earn-while-you-learn” approach, in which qualified students receive income support from the Employment Insurance of Canada during the time they are in school.

Upon licensing and graduation, you will be employed as an Automotive Painter. Your job will consist of a few different tasks including, refinishing motor vehicle bodies by sanding, spot filling, priming, conditioning and painting. More specifically, as an auto body painting professional, you must select and mix paint using automated paint mixing equipment; ensures the car is clean, free of corrosion and has had any dents filled in; and apply paint, lacquer or other decorative coatings. In addition, those in the auto body painting industry use automated spray paint, dip or flow coating equipment or mechanized painting or coating application equipment as well as hand-held spray guns and paintbrushes for touch-ups. Lastly, you may also have to prepare and apply stencils, computer-generated decals or other decorative items to the finished product.

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