Plenty of people paint their way into corners, but Jonathan Amaral paints his way to a medal.
The 17-year-old Margaret Park resident won the silver medal in the car painting competition at the 17th annual Skills Manitoba Competition, which took place on April 10 at Red River College’s Notre Dame campus.
Amaral, a Grade 12 West Kildonan Collegiate student, is enrolled in the auto body repair and painting/auto mechanical repair co-operative vocational education (CVE) program at Maples Collegiate.
One feature of CVE is an extended work placement. Since October, Amaral has been working at Peterbilt Manitoba Ltd., a truck dealership, parts, service and autobody shop.
"I just love working on vehicles, sanding here and there, maybe throwing on a bit of primer, fixing things, I just love it all," Amaral said.
"This is exactly what I want to do for a career. It’s been like that since I was around 10 years old, working with my dad in his shop and it just took off from there. I’ll do a bit of painting on my truck or I’ll throw (his father’s) truck in the shop and paint it."
Maples CVE instructor Lawrence Danylchuk said the car painting category consisted of three parts: paint blending a fender, feather edging a major scratch, and polishing.
"So much of the contest is based on proper procedure, making sure they don’t skip a step in the cleaning process, the wiping down process and also safety," Danylchuk said. "If they forget their safety glasses for a second, the judge comes up behind them and says ‘Put your glasses on’, but at the same time they’ve probably lost all their points for safety reasons."
"It was kind of nerve-wracking, pretty intense," Amaral said.
Danylchuk said the CVE program enables students to receive on-the-job training four days a week, which they can use for their first level of apprenticeship.
In addition to autobody and automotive training, Danylchuk said his students also have the opportunity to learn about small engine repair and recreational vehicle repair (snowmobiles, motorcycles, ATVs).
"I had one student who is actually working specifically in the welding area," Danylchuk said. "He’s working at Fort Garry Fire Trucks, training as a welder there. It’s a little off the beaten path, but it is related, and he’s already secured himself a full time position."
Amaral said Peterbilt has expressed interest in taking him on as an apprentice, which would involve Amaral splitting time between the company and Red River College’s four-year motor vehicle body paint and repair apprenticeship program.
Amaral said he loves the hands-on learning that the CVE program provides.
"I find I learn better with my hands then with a pencil and paper, big time," Amaral said. "It’s pretty interesting (the work). It isn’t boring. It keeps me entertained and interested in what I’m doing."