The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) is one of British Columbia’s largest post-secondary institutions, with more than 48,000 students enrolled annually. First established in 1964, the school now boasts five main campuses and a number of satellite locations around the province.

Located at the Burnaby campus, BCIT’s School of Transportation offers a number of programs for students interested in pursuing a career on the practical side of bodywork. Along with intriguing parttime courses in vehicle restoration, BCIT offers two “foundation” programs–one for automotive refinishing and another for motor vehicle body repair–in addition to an apprenticeship-track program for the motor vehicle side.

The Motor Vehicle Body Repair Technician Foundation program consists of 32 weeks of full-time studies. The course teaches theory and related information, along with hands-on shop practice, assignments and a two-week work practicum at an autobody repair shop halfway through the program. Upon successful completion of the program, students receive full credit for Level 1 technical training requirements in the provincial motor vehicle body repair apprenticeship.

Securing employment in a collision repair facility would be the next step for a student pursuing an apprenticeship. Accruing the necessary work hours and an official sponsor is the ticket to completing Level Two training (five weeks) and Level Three training (six weeks). Between work and school, and apprenticeship typically takes about four years to complete.

The Automotive Refinishing Technician Foundation program is a 26-week course of study designed to prepare students with the theoretical understanding and practical skills needed to use a spray gun, paint vehicles, and maintain records of materials used in accordance with federal, provincial and Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) regulations. The Vehicle Restoration program is a part-time course of study consisting of five courses covering sheet metal fabrication, welding, surface prep, refinishing and an advanced project course. In addition to learning from the instructors’ years of experience, students are invited and encouraged to share their own experiences with classmates in an interactive setting. A statement from BCIT says the courses will be of particular interest to professionals, classic car restorers, customizers, kit builders and specialty car builders.

For more information about BCIT and its programs, visit transportation/motive/courses.html.

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