For 15 years, Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) has supplied total loss vehicles to the Automotive Service and Auto Body Technician program at Saskatchewan Polytechnic in Saskatoon, to be fixed by students.
“This program is a win-win; students get hands-on experience fixing damaged vehicles that could otherwise end up in salvage or scrap yards, and SGI customers benefit by reduced costs,” Saskatoon Westview MLA David Buckingham said at the celebration ceremony on Friday.
All of the vehicles are considered a total loss, meaning they would cost more to repair in a commercial shop than they’re worth. About 30 to 40 cars are supplied each year to the automotive shops, along with scrap parts needed for the repairs.
By using total-loss vehicles students get to work on current models that make them better trained for the industry.
“We get to work on live vehicles, not just donated cars so it helps us get real-life experience. I’ve talked to a lot of guys in the trade and they didn’t have that,” student Elliott Dauvin said.
The fixed vehicles are either sold or used by SGI employees who need to travel for work.
According to Saskatchewan Polytechnic president and CEO Dr. Larry Rosia, the partnership is the first of its kind in Canada.
“We are pioneers in this area of collaboration and training. The hands-on learning our students receive through working on total-loss cars from SGI is invaluable, and will help to increase their job-readiness upon graduating,” Rosia stated in a press release.
“Other post-secondary institutions have approached us for support to create similar programs in their provinces.”