(Article published in L’Automobile Mechanic magazine, December 2023)

By Raynald Bouchard

The Vocational Training Centre Qualitech in Trois-Rivières has established itself as a credible and effective organization, having helped hundreds of candidates graduate with a Diploma of Vocational Studies (DVS) and an Attestation of Vocational Studies (AVS).

Assistant Director Hugues Gauthier, himself a 1992 Qualitech graduate in automotive mechanics, wanted to focus on the work-study Diploma of Vocational Studies, an 1,800-hour teaching program directly linked to the realities of the job market. It covers sectors such as construction and public works, electromechanics, metallurgy and, for the purposes of this article, motorized equipment maintenance, including bodywork, auto mechanics and electric vehicles.

The Appeal of Work-Study Elective Program (WSE)

The saying that your first pay cheque is likely to determine the nature of your future job may well hold true here, as each member of the three cohorts of around 20 students who have completed or will complete their internships with local autobody and mechanic workshops this year has been paid by Qualitech, using a grant from the Ministry of Labour, to cover the entire duration of the program. “WSE,” says Gauthier, “has helped solidify our young people’s motivations over the past 12 years and, even more importantly, given them the opportunity to be in contact with mentors in their new environment and to work with cutting-edge machinery and equipment.”

Each student in their cohort takes on the workshop of their choice, according to their specialty and proximity to their home. The first cohort of the 2023–2024 school year began in August 2023. The question is: what do the teachers have to say about it—after all, WSE does have an effect on their workload and commute? “Even if some had previously expressed fears about the format of their work, they all felt motivated by the work-study formula. The teaching continues to be relevant, as the student’s understanding is recorded. By following each of them through the workshops, it’s much easier to check their progress and provide corrective teaching.”

Promoting Maintenance and Repair at Qualitech

“Our main strength,” continues Mr. Gauthier, “lies in the mutual support we receive from our partner workshops, collision centres and joint committees. We do everything we can to take part in promotional events, meet young people and even their parents, who sometimes still harbour negative prejudices about the quality of the careers opening up for their children, and even for young girls. For example, eight of them are part of the latest bodywork cohort.

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