Layton on way to well-paying career with help from GAP apprenticeship, Vann York Collision

Published on: April 25, 2022
 Jadon Layton kneels while working on the front end of a car.
Thanks to GTCC and the GAP program, Vann York apprentice has Jadon Layton on track for well-paying auto body work career.

Jadon Layton has thought for a long time that auto body work would be his future. He just didn't realize how perfectly the stars would align for him.

"I pretty much knew body work was what I wanted to do after school. Then I worked in a body shop my junior year (of high school) and it piqued my interest even more," Layton, a 2020 graduate of Southeast Guilford High School, said.

He researched the Guilford Apprenticeship Partners (GAP) program offered by Guilford Technical Community College and another piece of his career and educational puzzle fell into place.

"I knew the GAP program was a really good deal. You get the experience, and they pay for you to go to school," Layton said.

The final piece of that puzzle was landing an apprenticeship at Vann York Paint and Collision Center in High Point through the GAP program. Vann York is the only car dealership in the area that offers an auto body apprenticeship with the GAP program.

"The GAP program is about Vann York Auto's dedication to our future and building relationships that last," said Rick Hayworth, director, service and parts, for Vann York Auto. "Without a steady stream of young, qualified technicians, our ability to service our customers would be greatly diminished."

The GAP program allows students to get started in promising careers while they earn their associate degree at GTCC. Guilford Apprenticeship Partners is a consortium of employers in a variety of industries, including advanced manufacturing, HVAC, automotive, IT, supply chain management, and pharmacy technology.

"Everybody in my family thought this was great for me. A four-year college education is a lot of money and you're not guaranteed a job after college," Layton said. "This way I was doing what I wanted to do, somebody else was paying for it, and I'm going to be able to get a good-paying job when I'm finished."

For Layton, it has been a comfortable, seamless process. He splits his time between the classroom and the Vann York body shop. As a second-year student in the program, his GTCC classes are scheduled in the evenings, so he can be in the shop during normal working hours.

"They paired me with someone experienced (at Vann York), and I've just followed his lead and did what he had me do," Layton said . "They have been really good with that. I haven't had any issues with it at all. I've learned an awful lot."

Two years into the program, Layton says he still works side-by-side with the same Vann York mentor, "but I do more things on my own now."

Layton says he has done everything from pulling frames on big jobs to replacing bumper covers on smaller jobs, but he has discovered the technical side of the business, also.

"There is a lot more to this business now with all the electronics, computer modules, and sensors. This industry is not what it is used to be, but we have covered all of that in the classroom."

The GAP apprenticeship has allowed Layton to chase and capture the dream he's had for years.

"I think being able to take something that is pretty close to junk and being able to make it nice again is amazing," he said. "And it helps people out at the same time. There is just so much gratification in this line of work.

"This program has helped me feel absolutely comfortable about my future."

To learn more about the Guilford Apprenticeship Program, visit

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