ACtion Magazine - April 2013 - (Page 8)

Freeze Frame Who needs training? Jacques Gordon A n interesting discussion appeared in a recent thread on iATN (if you’ve never seen that forum, do yourself a favor and take a look ( A long-time member asked if there is “another trade or profession…comparable to auto repair regarding the common expectations of employers for the training and tooling expenses of entry-level workers, especially in light of the common wages?” He then listed two dozen other professions for consideration. The post generated a lively thread as responders compared professions, training and earnings. But the question about employers’ expectations for entry-level tech training was most interesting. Formal entry-level training for auto mechanics has been available for almost 100 years, but even in new-car dealerships, on-the-job training (OJT) for entry-level techs was still common up to the 1980s. About the time electronic controls were introduced, employers began expecting novices to have some kind of formal training before applying for the job. The quality and depth of that training has improved dramatically over the years, but it’s no secret that most graduates aren’t ready to produce revenue their first day at work. Still, we all recognize it’s a tough business and it takes years on the job to gain the knowledge and proficiency of a journeyman (from “one who has fully served an apprenticeship in a trade or craft and is a qualified worker in another’s employ”). In theory, your training never ends, because something new is introduced each model year. That’s not unique; new ideas, technologies or regulations are also introduced for cosmetologists, plumbers, nurses and just about every other profession. And like you, if they don’t keep up with the changes, their opportunities for profit in the profession decrease. But there are two ways in which on-going training for your profession differs from most others. First of all, automotive technology is changing radically and fast, and OJT just isn’t enough. Ten years ago, electric power steering was still new. Last month, Audi previewed a car that finds its own parking space and parks itself after the driver walks away, and the driver retrieves the car using a smart phone. Imagine troubleshooting that system. Imagine what you’ll need to know ten years from now. The other major difference is how you get your training. Some professionals are EXPECTED to continue their formal training and win new certifications, and their employers pay for it because they consider it a business investment. Sadly, that’s not common in the automotive service industry. Many employers won’t even give techs time off for training, let alone pay for it, because they don’t recognize the need for training until they start turning away work. That hurts the shop, the tech and the customer. Sadly, it’s been this way since this industry began, but I doubt it will continue. Training not only impacts profit, it’s also playing a bigger role in shop safety, insurance coverage and meeting legal obligations. Fortunately, and speaking from my own experience, this industry has some of the best trainers in the world, and they’re not hard to find. Start by searching the MACS website, other trade association websites, and the Industry Events forum on iATN. If you still need help, send me an e-mail. ❆ Jacques 8 ACTION • April 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ACtion Magazine - April 2013

ACtion Magazine - April 2013
Freeze Frame
Virtual View
Under the Southern Cross
Leonard’s Law
News & Updates
State of the Industry
R-1234YF Design and Service Considerations
Heavy Duty/Off Road Technical Session
Hybrid Evolution Continues
Modern Automotive HVAC Systems
Old-Timers, Team Players, Slackers and Kids: Do Your Employees ‘play’ Well Together?
Cheap Isn’t Always Best
A/C Season Check List: Is Your Shop Ready?
MACS 2013 Training Event Social Wrap-Up
Wallace Talks Up Big Brother
Association News
Quick Check
New Products & Services
Last Watch

ACtion Magazine - April 2013