Why technician training programs are a win-win

Independent automotive service centers can have a hard time finding the right people. Especially in more rural areas or those without dedicated technical training programs through local schools, it can be difficult to hire service professionals with meaningful training. While people can certainly learn on the job, this method of teaching is time-consuming and resource-intensive. Plus, a person may not work out, meaning that the time and resources used to train him or her go down the train.

Creating technician training programs, however, can be a win-win situation for both automotive service centers and service professionals. It not only helps service centers fill open positions more easily and seamlessly, but provides opportunities for local residents to take those jobs. This can foster community development and stimulate the local economy. 

Technician training: An 'inside job'
By contributing to the creation of technician training programs, independent automotive service professionals can take a direct role in the instruction and professional development of students. One dealership in western Canada, for example, has already started to reap benefits from a program it established to train students in automotive repair, according to Automotive News. Cam Clark, the owner of the dealership, spoke to the advantages of a taking an insider approach to training potential future service technicians.

"We're in a rural-type community and techs are not always available, particularly young techs," Clark said. "We wind up growing our own technicians. We take kids and, if we raised them right, they grow up to be great technicians."

Fifteen year ago, the dealership set up the Mechanics Training Center, an academy for students in grades 10-12 to learn automotive repair, the news source stated. The dealership's technicians, as well as local teachers, contribute to instructing the students every weekday. These students are able to take their knowledge to dealerships and independent service centers. Clark stated that nine program graduates now work in his service department.

For a community in western Alberta that struggles to create jobs that need post-secondary education, the technician training program benefits both the local automotive industry and the community as a whole.  

Internships create opportunities
Internships for college credit are another way to train the next generation of automotive service professionals. The Salt Lake Community College, for example, recently announced it will debut an automotive training program, the University Herald reported. 

Students who take the internship class will receive 180 hours or more of on-the-job training at local service centers. This strategy not only enables students to apply their instruction toward a degree, but creates working relationships between service centers and students that can later provide professional opportunities.