Meet Patrick Cheddie: Our Appliance Service Technician Instructor Explains What To Expect In Class
Patrick Cheddie teaches the Appliance Service Technician Program at Appliance Technical Institute of Canada (Mississauga Campus)
Patrick Cheddie is one of the most respected instructors at Appliance Technical Institute of Canada. He is currently the only respectable Appliance Service Technician instructor in Eastern Canada.
His extensive experience as an appliance service technician, and proven abilities as a teacher, give students in his appliance service technician program that extra “edge” after graduation. Students who move into the co-op segment of the program are extremely prepared, and job ready post-graduation.
We interviewed Patrick to learn more about his background, and get an inside look at how he runs his classroom.
Find out what to expect in Patrick’s class, and see if you’re a good fit for appliance service technician training. Here’s everything you need to know, straight from the expert.
Q: Patrick, can you tell us about your background as a appliance service technician? What kind of experience do you have?
Patrick: I’ve been an appliance service technician for 20 years. I’ve worked in a lot of different areas, including for Factory Appliance, a lead tech for Maytag, Direct Energy and Trans Global Service. Over the years, I’ve gained experience in almost every sector of the industry, both as a worker and as a manager.
Q: How long have you been teaching the Appliance Service Technician program? What inspired you to become an instructor?
Patrick: I’ve been teaching the appliance service technician Program for about 2 year now. The truth is, I got into teaching because I saw a great need for better trained technicians in the field.
Working in the industry, I saw a lot of people coming onto job sites totally unprepared for the work. They didn’t have basic electrical knowledge or adequate troubleshooting training.
Basically, they were being asked to “shadow for a year or two”, and were often afraid to ask any questions. This is no way to start a career as an appliance service technician. It’s dangerous, and does little to build respect for the skilled trades.
Appliance Service Technician program student training on a gas furnace.
Q: So, what are the most valuable skills you teach your appliance service technician students? What gets them hired after graduation?
Patrick: My goal is to make them a useful technician on day one at a job site. This means that by the time students graduate, they understand all the different types of electrical and mechanical components, sound troubleshooting methods, codes, and how to use the proper tools correctly.
They graduate with all the important certifications, the TSSA Gas Technician 3 to work with gas appliances, and the Ozone Depletion Protection certification to work on refrigeration units.
Every one of my students finishes the program with the certifications, tools, and knowledge to show up ready to work! 95% of students are hired straight from their 12-week co-op placements during the Appliance Service Technician program.
We treat the school exactly like a job site. Students are expected to be respectful, punctual, good team members, and hard workers.
Employers hire from us because they trust the quality and thoroughness of our appliance service technician training. They know our students understand how the field really functions, and how to make themselves valuable assets.
Q: Can’t someone just find an apprenticeship on their own? Why should they take a program like yours?
Patrick: You’re right – there’s no rule that someone has to take college apprenticeship training. You could approach a licensed appliance service technician and ask them to take you on as an apprentice.
But, why would they hire you over someone who’s done the training, and already has appliance service technician knowledge and skills? The point of college apprenticeship training is to help you compete better for good jobs.
If someone signs you on, straight off the street, you won’t get actual in-school training for several years into your apprenticeship. You’re a liability to the employer, and there’s a greater overall cost to them, because you don’t really know what you’re doing.
I’m an employer, and I’m much more willing to hire someone who’s done this training versus a person straight off the street.
Doing college apprenticeship training shows employers you are serious about the trade. You’ve already made a commitment to better yourself and learn.
They see that you’re invested in the career. You’ve spent money on tuition, you have the right tools, you have the right certifications, and you’re going to see it through. This is the true value of quality apprenticeship programs.
Q: What are the toughest parts of Appliance Service Technician training? Where do students tend to struggle?
Patrick: Students tend to struggle in understanding the concepts and theory related to electrical mathematics, electricity, and electronics. For example, capacitors, DC motors, and circuit boards…these are ideas they haven’t really been exposed to or studied before.
But we start right from the basics. We progress slowly through each concept, so everyone has the chance to learn and understand.
I don’t just teach the rules, I make sure students understand why they’re doing it a certain way, and what can go wrong if they don’t follow the codes and regulations. We go deeper than that, so students truly understand what they’re doing and why it matters.
Even if you’ve never used a tool in your life, we make sure you know how to do it safely, and how to do it right.
Q: What parts of the Appliance Service Technician Program do students usually enjoy the most?
Patrick: They really enjoy doing the hands-on work. Students troubleshoot and repair all domestic and commercial appliances, including refrigeration and sealed system, and overcome challenges they never thought they’d be capable of.
For example, at the end of the program, students complete a 12-week co-op placement with a service company. They troubleshoot and repair microwaves, gas / electric stoves, gas / electric dryers, dishwashers, washers, and refrigerators. They run the venting and drainage, and ensure everything is done up to code. They learn every stage of that process.
It’s really rewarding for students who started training with little or no experience.
Appliance Service Technician Program students hard at work in the shop
Q: Who takes your course? Can you describe the age groups and backgrounds of your students?
Patrick: I have taught people from 18 to 62, from all walks of life. Every class has at least one or two women. In fact, we’re seeing more women join the appliance service technician class over the years.
Some students have a background in the trades, while others have never picked up a tool in their lives! We also have a fair number of newcomers to Canada….it’s a very diverse classroom.
This is a friendly, open learning environment. Everyone works together. No one is afraid to ask questions. Plus, we have only 9-12 students in each class, so it’s small enough that each person gets personal attention, and extra help when they need it.
Q: How does someone know they’d make a good appliance service technician?
Patrick: You have to want to learn, because in this field, you’re always learning. You have to like people, for sure. And you can’t be afraid to work with your hands, and at times, get dirty.
Some days, you’re super clean at the end of the day – and others, a little dirtier, depending on what you’ve gotten into! You have to be open minded and ready for anything.
Q: What are some different career paths in the appliance servicing industry? What options do students have?
Patrick: You can go on and become an in-field service technician. You can become an warehouse appliance technician for a global manufacturer. You can become a parts specialist. You can go into the new construction and renovation sector to install brand new appliances. You can start your very own servicing company and work towards receiving warranty contracts with global manufacturers.
Sales is another option, and so is becoming an instructor. You can also become a rep for appliances wholesaler. There are so many more career options than people realize.
Q: Any last words of advice for someone who is considering becoming an appliance service technician?
Patrick: Do your research before you start. Talk to appliance service technicians and contractors. Find out what to expect on a regular day at work, before you dive in.
Come to the campus, and talk with us about why you want to get into the trade. Sometimes I meet with students at this stage, to help them understand more of what to expect, and things to think about, before getting started.
This is the best way to make sure you’re on the right track, and that becoming an appliance service technician is the right trade for you.
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