Friday, February 17, 2017

Talking Shop: Community Transit's Mechanic Apprentice Program

Community Transit prides itself on investing in our exceptional Mechanics. We place a high value on education, both on-the-job continuing education and company-funded formal education. It's how we ensure we not only have an incredibly talented team to maintain our ever-growing fleet of vehicles, but we have a team that feels valued, confident, inspired. One way we grow these relationships with our employees is through our Apprentice Program.

Our Apprentice Program began as a way for our Vehicle Service Attendants and Vehicle Service Workers to gain the experience necessary to become a skilled journey-level mechanic. By growing our own mechanics through years of extensive training, we are privileged to have a team that is truly the best of the best. Most of our graduates from the program are still part of our maintenance family. We are proud to note there is an exceptional commitment to our agency that comes from growing up here. We all take care of each other.

Not all of our apprentices, though, come from in-house. We also partner with several technical colleges in the area to source dynamic candidates who are eager to learn. Our four-year Apprentice Program takes place over four years/8,000 hours. Students receive paid on-the-job learning at 60% of our regular mechanic salary, increasing every six months during the four-year program to receive 100% of salary at graduation. During this program, Community Transit pays for six hours in the shop and two hours at school for each weekday as they work towards their Diesel Technology Certificate. Our two-year Apprentice Program is offered when a student comes to us after receiving the certificate and works full-time in our shop for two more years.

Program participants spend each day partnered with a qualified Journey Mechanic to learn the ins and outs of all of our systems, including engines, transmissions, and brakes. This on-the-job learning not only ensures our apprentices learn everything their job will require of them, they also feel part of a family who believes in making a difference. Our Mechanics learn the importance of trusting the team that precedes them and trust for those who follow. This helps our new hires feel confident, no small task when working with complicated vehicles like ours. The programs also provide additional classroom learning for safety aspects and for detailed instruction on our specific equipment. Our apprentices are evaluated every quarter on their attentiveness, preparedness, safety, and quality of work.

While we require our apprentices to get a Diesel Technology Certificate, Community Transit recognizes the value in investing in additional education. We pay for additional coursework so they can get an associates degree. A well-rounded education provides our Mechanics with the potential to move up to leadership positions should they desire. Leadership positions include supervisory roles where individuals organize and set priorities for the teams: Shop Lead, Journey Mechanic Lead, Body Shop Lead, and Component Rebuild Lead.

Want to be part of a team that values it's employees? We're hiring!

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