BREAKING INTO THE INDUSTRY

BMW Group Canada’s collision repair program invests in the students of the future

By Cindy MacDonald

MW Group Canada, in conjunction with its BMW Group Certified Collision Repair Centres (CCRCs) is contributing $90,000 over three years to scholarships for the collision repair sector at two Canadian colleges. The funding takes the form of a $5,000 scholarship for the top three students and $2,000 for the next two top students. This unique program active at both Vancouver Community College (VCC) and Centennial College in Toronto.

The aim, says Gary Lin, CCRC program specialist with BMW Group Canada, is to create awareness of BMW Group’s shop certification program, to demonstrate the quality of these certified facilities at the student level and to steer top students into the CCRC network at a time when finding qualified body techs is a challenge. “We want students to have to opportunity to work in bodyshops of the 21st century and to understand the truly specialized nature of collision repair in today’s industry,” he explains.

Candidates for the BMW Group Canada Body & Paint Pre-Apprenticeship Scholarship Program are expected to complete a paid work term at a BMW Group CCRC. The scholarship criteria is designed for two year, pre-apprenticeship college programs. Under the current agreement with VCC and Centennial College, the scholarships will have three intakes—students who began the program in 2018, 2019 and again in 2020.

In order to qualify, applicants must maintain marks averaging above 85 percent and also attending 85 percent of classes. They are also required to complete online BMW Group University courses and one in-class BMW Group Brand Academy session.

At VCC and Centennial College, five students were selected by faculty members from the automotive collision and refinish department. Upon completion of their diploma, three of those selected will receive the $5,000 BMW Group Body & Paint Pre-Apprentice Scholarship. The other two students will receive a $2,000 award.

The timeline and criteria are similar for both colleges. The five qualifying students at each college are “the best of the best”, Lin says. The five applicants will be interviewed by BMW Group CCRCs before the end of their second semester and must be employees at a CCRC for a minimum three-month paid internship period after the first year of their college program. “We want a chance to give students the insight that BMW Group CCRCs and the world of specialized collision repair are viable career option for them,” Lin says.

BMW Group Canada currently has 51 CCRCs in its network with annual expansions planned for the foreseeable future. Both VCC and Centennial College have roughly 50 students in their 2018 intake class for the automotive collision and refinishing program. TD

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