Vehicle Technician

Job description

Vehicle Technicians maintain, repair, and overhaul land vehicles and related equipment to keep them in top condition. Vehicle Technicians belong to the Corps of Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

A Vehicle Technician has the following responsibilities:

  • Inspect, repair, overhaul and modify all types of automotive equipment and components
  • Repair, adjust and modify automotive systems
  • Repair, adjust, overhaul and modify powered equipment such as electrical generators and fuel-fired heating devices
  • Use and maintain common and specialized tools, basic garage hydraulic, mechanical and pneumatic equipment and oxyacetylene welding equipment

Transcript

VEHICLE TECHNICIAN

MEEK: This isn’t your average backstreet garage. It’s the Canadian Forces vehicle maintenance centre at the Edmonton garrison where we work as a team to keep our Army on the road and rolling hard.

LEBLANC: We’re Vehicle Technicians – highly-skilled soldier-mechanics who can fix and fight.

I’m Sergeant Jake Meek from Edmonton, Alberta. I’m currently serving with 1 Service Battalion, Adam company, Maintenance platoon.

And I’m Corporal Kevin LeBlanc from Shediac, New Brunswick, Vehicle Technician posted to Canadian Forces Joint Signal Regiment here in Kingston, Ontario.

LEBLANC: This is one of the best trades in the Forces and I’m sure it sure beats working as a mechanic anywhere else.

TITLE:
VEHICLE TECHNICIAN

MEEK: If you’re an experienced mechanic, then becoming a Vehicle Technician in the Forces would be a great career move for you.

LEBLANC: Or if you’re just starting out in the trade, then the Canadian Forces could be the best place to get your schooling, your apprenticeship and a job with real responsibility.

MEEK: You’ll be part a highly-motivated team of expert mechanics and you’ll go wherever the Forces go across Canada and on deployments around the world working on ignition and electrical systems, exhaust and intake, drive-train and suspension – you name it – on a huge range of vehicles.

Guys ask me all the time, a lot of my civilian friends ask me, “What do you work on?”. I tell them – basically everything from chainsaws to Leopard main battle tanks.

LEBLANC: Around here, every shift and every vehicle is a different challenge.

MEEK: On base in Canada, we work in state-of-the-art shops like this, but on deployment, well, that’s a whole new ballgame. When I was in Afghanistan, we were working out of tents making sure each vehicle was in top shape because the last thing you want is a breakdown in the battle zone.

We basically turn it around, we fix it and we can watch the user drive away in it and it’s satisfying knowing that that was our work and that was our knowledge that put it back together and got it back on the road.

LEBLANC: That’s what makes being a Vehicle Tech in the Forces a lot more challenging and a lot more rewarding than turning a wrench anywhere else. We know that the work we do has a direct impact on the mission.

MEEK: I’ve always been fairly mechanically inclined. There are some people that can draw really well. There’s other people that can work on vehicles and make them work and just have a knack for it and I was always one of those guys.

LEBLANC: I was sort of in my father’s shadow all the time. He was a jack-of-all trades himself, fixing or touching anything and everything. And I sort of had the opportunity to touch various and different things and either break them or fix them and I just developed on those skills and realized that this is something I can and would like to do.

MEEK: I took my mother’s vacuum cleaner apart a few times – it got a working over and she wasn’t too happy about it, but it still works, so it’s all good.

If you decide to join us, you’ll do your basic training just like every other soldier, then move on to the Canadian Forces School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering at CFB Borden in Ontario for about 30 weeks of intensive courses in vehicle maintenance and repair.

LEBLANC: Then you’ll be ready for your apprenticeship at a base in Canada. That’ll be about 18 months of on-the-job training – at full pay, of course.

MEEK: But there’s a new alternative to traditional training on base. It’s called the Subsidized Education Plan.

LEBLANC: That means that the Forces could, if you’re selected in the program, cover your tuition and books at a recognized college or technical school.

Your training never ends. You have opportunities to go on different courses, different qualifications that you’ll never see on civilian side.

Things like working on LAV III’s, battle tanks and other armoured vehicles. It sounds cool and it is, but there’s a pretty serious reason why our vehicles have to work right every time.

MEEK: If we didn’t have the mechanics doing their job, then the Armour couldn’t do their job or the Infantry couldn’t do their job. A lot of the Infantry now is mounted infantry with LAV IIIs. If you don’t have the mechanics to fix it, they’re not really going anywhere.

LEBLANC: Becoming a Vehicle Technician in the Canadian Forces was the best decision I’ve ever made.

MEEK: You’re going to get that satisfaction, that you’re being part of a team, that you’ve contributed to the overall success of a mission of the Canadian Forces.

And like we always say, “If the Vehicle Techs don’t do their job right, the Army’s gonna need better boots”.

TITLE:

VEHICLE TECHNICIAN

  • Carry out the recovery of all types of vehicles used in the land forces, utilizing standard towing trucks and specialized tracked and wheeled recovery vehicles
  • Drive all types of vehicles ranging from small support wheel vehicles to tank transporters
  • Prepare and process maintenance documentation dealing with work orders, individual time cards and parts request forms
  • Perform in land operations, when necessary, fight as infantry

Overview

Working environment

Vehicle Technicians experience the unique adventures and challenges that come with working in different environments. Vehicle Technicians are employed at bases and stations across Canada and on deployed operations around the world. While on a base, they may be working in small spaces, like a workshop. In the field or on deployment they may work outdoors most of the time or in temporary accommodations.

Pay and career development

The starting salary for a fully trained Vehicle Technician is $49,400 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Vehicle Technicians who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression, promotion and advanced training.

Related civilian occupations

  • Industrial Truck Mechanic
  • Automotive Brake and Front-end Mechanic
  • Truck-Trailer Repair Specialist
  • Tune-up Specialist

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Training

Basic military qualification

The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.

Basic military qualification – land course

After Basic Training, Army recruits go to a Military Training centre for the Basic Military Qualification – Land Course for approximately one month, which covers the following topics:

  • Army physical fitness
  • Dismounted offensive and defensive operations
  • Reconnaissance patrolling
  • Individual field craft

Basic occupational qualification training

Vehicle Technicians attend the Canadian Forces School of Administration and Logistics in Borden, Ontario for four weeks of driver training. Driver training for Vehicle Technicians covers a wide range of commercial and military-pattern vehicles up to a three-ton capacity.

Following driver training, they attend the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers School. Over approximately 30 weeks to receive a combination of theory instruction, demonstrations and practical work, on the following subjects:

  • Principles and operating characteristics of internal combustion engines
  • Repair and overhaul of typical engines and vehicle components
  • Common and special tools and electronic test equipment
  • Basic garage equipment
  • Oxyacetylene welding equipment
  • Automotive systems
  • Operating light tracked vehicles

Specialty training

Vehicle Technicians may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including further technical training. Supervisor and manager level training is also available.

Advanced training

As they progress in their career, Vehicle Technicians who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available courses include:

  • Instructional techniques
  • Northern terrain vehicle maintenance
  • Engineering and ground support equipment maintenance
  • Armoured vehicle launched bridge/armoured engineering vehicle maintenance
  • Recovery vehicle maintenance
  • Leopard C1/A2 main battle tank
  • Leopard armoured recovery vehicle maintenance and recovery

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Entry plans

Required education

The minimum required education to apply for this position is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 10 or Secondaire IV in Quebec as well as grade 10 applied Math or Math 426 in Quebec. Foreign education may be accepted.

Direct entry

If you already have a college diploma, the CAF will decide if your academic program matches the training criteria for this job and may place you directly into the any required on-the-job training program following basic training. Basic training and military occupation training is required before being assigned.

Paid education

Non-commissioned Member Subsidized Education Program (NCM-SEP)

Because this position requires specialty training, the CAF will pay successful recruits to attend the diploma program at an approved Canadian college. NCM SEP students attend basic training and on-the-job training during the summer months. They receive full-time salary including medical and dental care, as well as vacation time with full-pay in exchange for working with the CAF for a period of time. If you choose to apply to this program, you must apply both to the CAF and the appropriate college. For more information, see Paid education

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Part-time option

This occupation is available part-time within the following environment: Army

Serve with the Reserve Force

This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time at an Air Force Wing in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.

Part-time employment

Vehicle Technicians serve with the Canadian Army. They are employed maintaining, repairing, and overhauling land vehicles and related equipment for CAF training and operations. When employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis, they usually serve at a military location within Canada.

Reserve Force training

Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. They usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic military training and Soldier qualification, the home unit will arrange for additional training for specialized skills. Vehicle Technicians attend the Canadian Forces School of Administration and Logistics in Borden, Ontario for four weeks of Driver Training on commercial and military-pattern vehicles up to a three-ton capacity. After this, they attend the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers School for approximately 30 weeks to achieve their skills qualification.

Working environment

Reserve Force members usually serve part-time with their home unit for scheduled evenings and weekends, although they may also serve in full-time positions at some units for fixed terms, depending on the type of work that they do. They are paid 85 percent of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.

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