ACtion Magazine - May 2013 - (Page 12)
Under the Southern Cross
They don’t tinker with
cars any more
t is a source of great amusement down
here when people find out that I know
absolutely nothing about cars. I wouldn’t
know a con rod from a TX valve.
But back when I was a pimply teenager,
you were regarded as, well, odd, if you
didn’t spend every Saturday peering into the
engine of an Austin A40, or a Hillman, or a
Morris. Before the iconic Holden took hold,
the streets of Australia were full of English
Those of you who are old enough will
remember that there was a time when
you didn’t need to know a lot about cars
to be able to tinker with them. Cars were
ACTION • May 2013
originally mechanical things, and as long as
you labelled the nuts and bolts, you could
replace a diff, or king pins, or any number
of things, without having to call in a highly
expensive mechanic. Air conditioning? What
was that? You just opened a window and
you were air conditioned.
Those of you who are old
enough will remember that
there was a time when
you didn’t need to know a
lot about cars to be able
to tinker with them.
As a teenager and a young man about
town, you were capable of keeping an old
claptrap on the road. Playing with cars was a
hobby, simply because you could.
And my point is? Kids don’t do this any
more. The days of boys wanting to tinker
under the bonnet are gone.
And when kids don’t do this any more,
you have a generation growing up with no
real interest in cars at all. Buying a car these
days is like buying a package of frozen peas
at the supermarket. We don’t know where
they come from, we don’t know how they
work or how they got in the packet. As long
as it goes when you turn the key, what else is
there to know?
A study has just been released in Australia
which explains a lot of things about the
state of the automotive industry. One of the
major findings was that because kids don’t
tinker with cars any more, they are less likely
to consider a career in the auto industry.
Auto Skills Australia is a relatively new
body charged with trying to modernise
the auto curriculum to entice more young
people into the automotive repair industry.
They have produced an eye-opener of
a report, called the Environmental Scan
2013, in which they forecast that the repair
industry is in for interesting times ahead.
There’s good news and there’s bad news.
The bad news - workshops will close at an
accelerating rate as the experienced mechanical
and technical workforce ages and replacement
staff will become very difficult to find.
And the good news - as the number
of workshops and skilled technicians fall,
the opportunities for those who hang in
there and maintain their skill levels will be
astounding and profitable, with a very real
possibility that in the near future, people
will be waiting in long queues to have their
vehicles repaired or serviced.
The drop-out rate of apprentices in
automotive training is among the worst of
any trade and it is alarming educators. There
are even signs in Australia and the US that
the social media behemoth is pushing young
people away from driving altogether. Why
drive to work when you can stay socially
connected sitting on the bus or train?
The impact of this and many other trends
will profoundly affect the way aftermarket
workshops cope with the future. Older
people with skills acquired from years on the
tools will become precious to the industry
very shortly, if not already. As employers
realise this, they will use whatever incentives
they can to keep people in the workforce.
Turning young people off working in
the car trade are the negative perceptions
concerning the industry as being dirty,
low-paid work. As the Scan points out, this
in fact is not the case. Modern automotive
workshops are clean and have sophisticated
equipment to diagnose and service modern
vehicles. Students today are required to have
maths, IT and science skills in order to be
able to conduct vehicle diagnostics and work
with such technology.
Considering that I failed miserably in
Maths 1 in primary school, it’s a good thing
that I learnt how to type, because I would
never have made it as a vehicle technician. ❆
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ACtion Magazine - May 2013
Action Magazine - May 2013
Under the Southern Cross
News & Updates
What Is Happening in the Auto A/C Industry?
New Equipment, Tools and Service Parts for 2013
Striking Customer Service Gold
New Products & Services
ACtion Magazine - May 2013