Sault College has acquired six vehicles from Maitland Ford Lincoln and Northside Toyota for its motive power program as part of a partnership between the school and two of the city’s local auto dealerships.
The vehicles - which came with a price tag of $75,000 - were funded through the provincial government’s apprenticeship enhancement fund.
“With these new vehicles, we can simulate the real repairs of today’s modern vehicles, so that is what’s really important about it,” said motive power coordinator Stephen Kent.
Kent says that automobile manufacturers used to donate vehicles to Sault College, but that practice has “slowed down” in recent years.
With the acquisition of the newer vehicles, the college now has a dozen vehicles for automotive students to work with and learn from.
“We just retired about six or seven, and we’ve just filled with these six that we just purchased in this year,” Kent said.
As a part of the partnership between the college and local car dealers, Northside Toyota has also established a scholarship award for automotive students, while Maitland Ford Lincoln will provide automotive students with access to its service information and integrated diagnostic software.
“If you look at the modernization of the automobile, I mean we’re moving from back in the old days with carburetors and distributors to...I mean, before long we’re going to have artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, full electric,” said Kent.
“Our trade evolves at a very high rate, so all the new options that [have] come out in the last ten years or so with the self-park and electric power steering, smart cruise, lane departure.”
Both car dealerships will also have advertising opportunities throughout the college and its motive power lab.
The partnership is part of a three-year, $2.2 million commitment from the province to revamp and renovate the college’s automotive shops, classrooms and equipment in order to reflect changes in the automotive industry.