Posted to Industry Issues Forum on 7/18/2013
Andrew Gibson make an extremely good point about the power
of licensing and regulation in other trades. I think it's
obvious that the reason other trades prosper while the
automotive sector languishes is because they have standards
and we don't.
But we've been beating up the tech licensing issue nearly
every month during the fourteen years that I've been an iATN
The long and short of it is that I keep hearing shop owners
in general complaining about the lack of qualified
technicians. The fact of the matter is that the aftermarket
industry contributes very little material support to the
training of young, qualified technicians.
The other pertinent fact is that we're not going to get
qualified technicians through our current vocational and
aftermarket training systems. And I use the word "system"
very loosely when referring to aftermarket training.
One reason the quality of our trade school grads is so
lacking is because the entry thresholds for beginning
students are low to non-existent. The other reason is that
we expect too much from a vocational educational model that
hasn't changed since Model T Fords rolled on wooden wheels.
Don't blame the instructors. But instead blame the
politicians and the administrators who have a vested
interest in maintaining the status quo. Not to mention the
largely inadequate funding of what now passes for
The obvious answer is that, if we really want technician
licensing, we need organization and clout. The only way to
get that organization and clout is to grow a much larger,
politically stronger, and more financially able Automotive
Although ASA is composed of shop owner members, it must also
be dedicated to raising the threshold for entry-level
technicians. Not only must ASA be dedicated to raising the
existing threshold, it must also initiate its own
internship/apprenticeship programs so that it can instill
not only the pride of craftsmanship but also the ethical
values involved with becoming a master technician and
perhaps future shop owner.
I say the "internship and apprenticeship" levels simply
because these programs are the only way that industry can
certify hands-on competence. Either program should evaluate
student performance through an on-going system of training,
remediation, and certification of specific hands-on skills.
As for the differences between the two, internships are
usually coordinated through an existing vocational program
while apprenticeships are usually operated solely through
the resources of the industry itself. Either system will
Remember that the auto manufacturers team up with community
colleges and make internships work for them each and every
day of the week. And that's perhaps why they also get the
best student candidates.
Yup, that process is going to cost a lot of folks some money
including the shop owner and, ultimately, the automotive
consumer. And don't forget that our industry will have to
start offering compensation and benefit packages that will
attract the bright, young people we need in our industry.
Even at the very best, this process will take years to put
But, speaking as one who has addressed this issue for many
years at many different educational and industry levels,
industry-sponsored internships and apprenticeship programs
are the only way to resolve the on-going issue of technician
Gary from Colorado
62 Replies Received
62 Replies Received