By Greg Bobinec on December 2, 2020.
Lethbridge Collegiate Institute students taking the automotives program will be able to improve their hands-on skills in the auto industry, thanks to a donation of automotive machinery from Lethbridge Toyota.
While the car dealership was investing in a new tire machine and tire balancing-machine, they were looking at options for donating their older, well-maintained machinery and decided to donate to the program that gave their general manager his first experience in the trade.
“The idea of donating this actually came from our team members and the fact that I was born and raised in Lethbridge and actually had my first experiences in the automotive world in this very shop,” says Tim Schipper, general manager of Lethbridge Toyota. “It was about 20 years ago when I was here and graduated and it was only six months (being hired) after I graduated, so it is pretty close to my heart.”
The new additions to the LCI automotive program are common machinery found in almost all automotive shops, allowing the students to learn more skills on professional-trade machinery. The donation not only provides new opportunities for the students, but also doubles the current setup of the LCI auto department.
“The equipment that we have donated here is something that we use a lot at Lethbridge Toyota,” says Schipper. “It is a very important part of our business, normal maintenance with tires and rims, that is something students need to know when they come into our industry, so I am happy to be able to contribute to our community.”
Dominic Centola, LCI automotive and autobody teacher, says that over the last few years funding has been hard to find to purchase new equipment for the students, but with this donation from Lethbridge Toyota, they are able to continue improving the quality of education within the program.
“It has been tricky the last few years to get high-ticket equipment, money-wise, in the entire province. It’s hard, and so it is really great when an industry can help the kids out because they are the ones that in the future are going to be going into the industry and so it is really nice when we can update some of our stuff,” says Centola.
“Wheel and tire repair is a very basic skill set. It is one of the first things people do when they are getting into the trade as an apprentice and it is really helpful for them to use newer equipment while they learn this basic skill set.”
With the donation, LCI students will be able to benefit from the training they receive on the up-to-date equipment from Lethbridge Toyota, along with the strengthening of bridges between the school’s partnership with local industries.
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