The Piston Academy: Classic Car Restoration Apprenticeship
The Apprenticeship Journey
The Piston Academy apprenticeship program is for qualified technicians with a committed interest to pursue a skilled trade career in the restoration and service of vintage, classic, and collector automobiles.
Placement & Mentoring
The Academy provides job placement with a certified restoration shop, a learning plan, and a six-month training grant. Mentoring helps apprentices deal with challenges and build success.
Assessment & Certification
As apprentices learn trade skills through work experience, regular assessments keep their training on track. When apprentices complete their program they are awarded a Piston Academy Certificate and are ready to move into a technician or specialist role.
If selected and placed as an apprentice in a restoration shop, the apprentice will receive a six-month training grant of up to $7,500. Apprenticeship programs can last 6 to 24 months. Apprentices may apply for up to four training grants, for a total of two years of grant assistance.
Apprentices will be selected on the basis of their demonstrated interest in a skilled trade career in collector car restoration, their related experience, employment history, and job performance. Their academic record, letter of recommendation, and financial need, will also contribute to the selection of apprenticeship recipients.
The apprenticeship committee responsible for reviewing applications and awarding placements is made up of Piston Academy leadership, select Foundation advisors, and industry partners. All applicants agree to accept committee’s decisions as final.
Individuals who are committed to building a career in collector car restoration may apply to our apprenticeship program if they meet the following eligibility requirements.
- Have at least two years of automotive technician experience or similar technical hands-on experience.
- Be high school graduates, GED recipients, or equivalent if educated outside the U.S.
- Be legally eligible to work in the U.S.
- Demonstrate financial need
Apprenticeships have an open application deadline. Applications are reviewed as they are submitted. Successful applicants will be contacted to schedule an interview. All applicants will be notified of their status within eight weeks.
How to Apply
Individuals can apply for a Piston Academy apprenticeship through our online application.
- Register for an account and verify your email address.
- Complete all application questions.
- Submit a personal statement about why you are passionate about pursuing a career in the collector car industry. Describe your previous automotive work experience and your personal qualifications. Minimum length is 500 words.
- Submit a letter of recommendation from a non-family teacher, supervisor, or mentor.
- Submit a video essay about you and the career you want to build in auto restoration. Share a project that demonstrates your skills and tell where you want to be in five years. Maximum length is five minutes.
Required Application Materials
The following materials are required to be submitted electronically along with your online application before you can be considered for an apprenticeship.
- Your completed application with education history and work history
- Personal statement. Minimum length is 500 words.
- One letter of recommendation.
- Video essay. Maximum length is five minutes.
Apply for a Piston Academy Apprenticeship
Our mission is to bring more people into the collector car industry and help them build rewarding, successful careers.
If you are a working automotive technician with a committed interest in building a career in collector car restoration and service, and you meet the eligibility requirements, we encourage you to apply for a Piston Academy apprenticeship.
From the Piston Blog
Meet Kira Mundhenk: Apprentice Restoration Specialist
Kira Mundhenk is an apprentice with Steel Wings in Ivyland, Pennsylvania. As she enjoys the process of learning and working in a shop that impressed her from the moment she stepped inside, she is sharing her experiences with the Piston Foundation.
The Next Generation of Restoration Specialists at the Cavallino Classic
The Cavallino Classic is a partner of the Piston Foundation. Their generous support is helping to open career opportunities for young people in the classic car industry through our scholarship and apprenticeship programs.
The Classic Car Academy in Belgium
Nico Bourgois lives and works in Belgium, where he is teaching classic car restoration techniques. The Piston Foundation was fortunate enough to talk with him to learn what he’s doing, how much his mission overlaps with that of the Piston Academy, and how the restoration craft unifies people no matter where you live in the world.
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