Apprenticeships in Collision Repairs

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Training overview:

In the past, hours and even weeks where needed to develop skills such as welding, file finishing and so on. It made sense to send the apprentices to college where these skills could be developed. But with today’s welding and other equipment, far fewer skills are required and most apprentices learn for example welding on the job long before it is covered in the college.

The trade has gone through enormous changes; however, not much has changed in the delivering of training. To stay with the welding example, what the apprentice really need’s, is a good understanding of the different welding options available today. What can- and what cannot be welded. This knowledge is at least as important as the practical ability to weld. If the wrong welding method is selected, a vehicle could, in a subsequent accident, fail with enormous consequences. To gain this vital knowledge, an apprentice does not have to go to college and no amount of welding practice will boost this knowledge. This is just one example to demonstrate that our traded is no longer a skill trade, it is now a knowledge trade. In other words, knowledge is now more important than skills.

Unfortunately, most training providers have not realise this and still duplicate what most apprentices already have learned at work. Based on our studies and research into learning, the ideal environment for an apprentice is the workshop where real work is performed. In addition, self-paced study time and regular, short theory lessons where the fundamentals, underpinning knowledge and the reasons why, are explored and explained, give the best learning results and this is in principle what our education is based on.

We coordinate our training with the learning in the workplace, so the apprentice learns faster. Even better results can be achieved if the apprentice is teamed up with a mentor and we are happy to assist to get the best result for you and your apprentice. We see our role as coach and aim to further each individual to his/her best potential. This is not an easy way out!! This is not copying answers from one book to another. This training is designed to challenge a student’s thinking and in doing so, developing these highly priced transferable skills.

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How is the onsite training conducted:

Two thirds of the theory training is conducted in the first two years when it is most needed and the apprentice is not yet very productive on the floor. The learning comes from a combination of:

• Practical, everyday work on the floor.
• Self-paced learning, in the workplace or at home.
• One on one reviewing of assigned work during the visits.
• One on one gap training during the visits.
• Live online training sessions (CrashChat) in groups via the internet.
• All CrashChats are recorded and can be accessed 24/7.

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Student Support For the “self-paced learning” we developed workbooks with questions that students have to research and tasks to develop their skills. We use the latest training resources “Auto Body Repair Technology” by Paul Uhrina and James E. Duffy and this website with learning resources, hundreds of links to industry publications and videos.

A very important part of our training is the “reviewing of the assigned work” to identify knowledge gaps.

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Gap training” addresses only the individual learning needs. This form of education is very time efficient. Apprentices are very responsive to this kind of training because it is tailored for them only and learning times can be reduced considerably.

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CrashChat“,Live online training sessions” are very popular with the apprentices because of the visual content and the ability to talk in real time with the trainer and peers.  In addition, it appears to be more suited for students with low attention and reading skills. Experience has shown that most students learn more and faster in a given time with this system. Session times are between 1 and 2 hours and can be accessed from any computer with internet access. There is one or two sessions per quarter (3 months) depending on the year level of the apprentice. Should the scheduled time not suit, all CrashChats are recorded and can be accessed 24/7.

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Student Support” is available “everyday, any reasonable hour”. Students can ring their trainer and ask questions or text and he will ring them.

It is the combination of all these components, the self-paced learning, the individual reviewing of the assigned work, the gap training, CrashChat and the individual student support that enhance a deeper learning and ultimately make a better and more informed tradesperson.

The advantage for employers is the minimal interruption, the apprentice can access these sessions from a work computer and does not have to leave the workshop at all.

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Loan computers: We realise that not all shops have computers available for the apprentices and need the phone line for their day to day business. We have a limited number of student computers available. A fully refundable deposit in the value of the unit will be required. The employer needs to provide access to the internet via a blue LAN cable or WIFI. The computers are needed to access CrashChat, and Skype is used for the one on one gap training. In this way the training does not interfere with business activities.

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Course cost: Apprenticeship/Traineeship training is generally funded by the State Government. Your local AASN (Australian Apprentice Support Network) will be able to give you the most current and exact details. However, there is a Government requirement for an apprentice to pay “Student Contribution Fees” also known as “Tuition Fees” directly to the training provider (the same as TAFE or any other government funded training provider). Depending on the State and the chosen competencies, this will be around $400 per year. (Concessions are available) A refundable deposit for the training book of$150 is charged after the probation time.

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How to enrol: To enrol in this course, you have to find a suitable employer first. We suggest your employer contacts us to discuss the various training options available and we will guide him/her through the signing up process. Alternatively, an employer can contact an AAC (Australian Apprentice Center) of his/her choice. They will sign up the apprentice and you choose the Automotive Academy as your preferred training provider. Currently we have funding arrangements in Qld, SA and some parts of NSW and we can apply for other States depending on demand.

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