By Aunie Edwards
The Toronto Sun
Sometimes the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. And Shant Manouki-Jevezian, a young man following in his father's footsteps, is the good apple that proves it. Aspiring to become an automotive service technician, Manouki-Jevezian is realizing his goals with the support of a brilliant partnership between the York Catholic District School Board, the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) and a community business.
Through OYAP, Shant Manouki-Jevezian has the opportunity to apprentice as automotive service technician under the guidance of his father at the family-owned Hi Care Auto Repairs and Sales.
OYAP and the school board make it possible for co-op students to apprentice in a skilled trade while concurrently earning high school credits. Supported by the
Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, the partnership offers students a road map for apprenticeship -- from high school requirements, to a government subsidized college education, right through to certification.
Each participating community business also works closely with the high school, the ministry and the affiliated college while providing skills training in a professional environment. But OYAP's collaboration with business offers one more possibility.
"Our co-op program does not allow relatives to become involved in an apprenticeship, unless the student is registered with OYAP," explains Connie Ciarallo, co-op co-ordinator for St. Robert Catholic High School, Manouki-Jevezian's alma mater.
"The ministry provides guidelines designed to ensure that time spent at an apprenticeship is not simply hours accumulated. OYAP is an extra eye, a partner in our effort to keep the student on a successful path to real learning. In short, we don't have to worry about familiarity providing an easier, but infinitely less valuable apprenticeship."
It is this key element that affords Manouki-Jevezian the opportunity to learn under the supervision of his father, a well-respected business owner and certified automotive service technician.
Manouki-Jevezian began his apprenticeship at his father's business, Hi Care Auto Repairs & Sales, during his final semester at St. Robert C.H.S. His father closely follows the ministry guidelines to ensure that all requirements are being met. Says Manouki-Jevezian, "The ministry task book says I have to be proficient in each skill before my supervisor can sign off on it. I can't just complete the task once -- I have to master it before I get a signature."
Henry Manouki-Jevezian is equally straightforward about the apprenticeship: "Shant really likes the work -- he has always seen this (as his) future. And our relationship is simple: when we get to work, it's not father/son."
Says Shant, "If we didn't look so similar, you wouldn't even know we're related."
Accepted at Centennial College, Manouki-Jevezian continues to work at Hi Care Auto while he waits for his seat in the program. His apprenticeship will require about five years of skills training and three levels of college courses before he can certify.
"Shant is a determined young man who intends to see this through," Ciarallo says. "And his father also runs a dealership, so Shant is absorbing a lot about business while he works toward becoming an automotive service technician."
Says Shant: "The technical side of things is what really interests me. My dad always stresses the importance of this work -- people rely on their cars to be safe and efficient, so we better take great care. He's a true perfectionist with high expectations -- I'm glad about that because I want to do this right and do it well."
Sometimes, the apple really doesn't fall far from the tree.
(Aunie Edwards (firstname.lastname@example.org)
is a Guelph-based freelance writer.)
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