Vancouver Community College rolls out new appliance repair hub

Samsung Tech Institute will service a full suite of stoves, microwaves, washers

They’re not first responders, but to some, they’re viewed as lifesavers just the same.

So says Noel Vanderveer, who’s tasked with instructing tomorrow’s crop of appliance repair students out of the newly-minted Samsung Tech Institute at Vancouver Community College (VCC).

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Unveiled on Thursday, Feb. 23, the 1,900 square-foot facility will be rolled out in full for the April 2017 semester and represents a partnership between Samsung and VCC that began one year ago.

Two course streams are offered: the entry pathway is for students new to the repair profession, while the professional pathway is geared towards those with some experience in repair, sciences and math.

“For an elderly person, when you walk out of their home having just repaired their washing machine or their stove, you are a lifesaver,” Vanderveer said. “You’re giving them their independence back usually in the course of one day.”

Students are trained exclusively on Samsung products in the classroom and receive a Samsung Home Appliance Technician designation upon completion of the course, which takes between 11 and 45 weeks depending on which pathway is selected.

Over the course of their training, students take apart, diagnose and repair any number of Samsung digital appliances: fridges, gas and electric stoves, microwaves, washing machines and dryers.

While the focus is working solely on Samsung products, that’s not to suggest learning outcomes are exclusive to one brand or product.

“The skills that are being learned are universally applicable,” said Mark Childs, Samsung Canada’s chief brand officer. “The advantage of the students having this program is that they’re getting the first, hands-on experience of the latest technology and innovation from us.”

Vanderveer is tasked with the nuts, bolts and minutiae of appliance repair, which is the central thrust behind the centre. As part of the program, he’ll strip a piece of machinery down to its core elements and it’s then the students’ jobs to put it all back together.

Once that’s done and grads head out the door, they can expect to earn around $60,000 in their first year of full-time work, Vanderveer said. He also suggested the majority of appliance repair jobs in Metro Vancouver are held by people over the age of 55 and in the golden years of their career.

“The demand is constant. If you’re a real go-getter, you can make $150,000 a year in this profession,” he said.

A second stream of the professional pathways stream will be offered in April, while the inaugural entry pathway program will be offered in September. Class sizes will be capped at 20 students and tuition costs range between $1,800 and $7,000. Some pre-requisites are required prior to application.

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