One of the coolest things about watching the show �Pimp My Ride�, which takes worn down cars and refinishes them, is seeing the paint job. There is a rainbow of colours and lots of designs. The people behind these impressive paint jobs are Automotive Painters.
In the auto body industry, automotive painters are specialized technicians whose main job it is to refinish motor vehicle bodies by sanding, spot filling, priming, conditioning and painting. However, the auto body painting field is much more in-depth than that. Automotive Painters must select appropriate paint or mix paints using automated paint mixing equipment. They also have the responsibility for tending to the cars that they work on to ensure they are clean, free of corrosion and have any dents filled before the application of paint, lacquer or other decorative coatings. This is done by repairing body surfaces using hand and power tools, spot fill and prime.
To ensure that the paint job is up to par, Automotive Painters must know how to use automated spray paint, dip or flow coating equipment or mechanized painting or coating application equipment as well as hand-held spray guns and paintbrushes for touch-ups. They must also be able to mask and tape for multi-tone work and protective requirements. Lastly, they may also prepare and apply stencils, computer-generated decals or other decorative items to the finished product. It is both a creative and practical job.
Aside from creativity and an eye for detail, there are a number of skills and abilities that an Automotive Painter should possess. Knowledge of the tools, materials, equipment and techniques of the trade is essential, as is the ability to mix and blend paints. In order to mix paints, you should have good colour vision. You must also have the physical strength and stamina to hold a spray paint machine steadily for extended periods of time while painting. That comes hand-in-hand with the patience to focus on precise work.
Due to the chemical nature of the paints you will work with, you must be aware of safe working procedures such as proper air ventilation. Communication skills are also vital in the automotive painting field, as you will need to communicate with clients in regards to their needs. Lastly, you will need basic math and computer skills to estimate how much paint will be needed and then be able to properly weigh out that paint.
Centennial College’s Automotive Painter Traditional Apprenticeship focuses on techniques, equipment and materials in modern automotive finishing and refinishing systems that will get you ahead in the field. To round out your education, the program also covers components, frames, panels and grills, holes and dents and other surface repairs.
The in-school training is geared to on-the-job experience and there is an �earn-while-you-learn� approach, with 4 training periods of 1,800 hours with an employer and 1 eight-week college session. The in-school session is completed at facilities that are state-of-the-art and housed at the province’s largest transportation training centre, Ashtonbee Campus. Applicants, who are interested in entering the Automotive Painter apprenticeship, must possess an Ontario Secondary School Diploma. They must also be currently employed as an apprentice. For general information about apprenticeship registration, please contact the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.