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International Automotive Technicians Network
What Is It That We don't Get?
Posted to Industry Issues Forum on 4/7/2016 62 Replies

Hello, IIF

I've about had it with the trade media editorials demanding more education as a remedy for our current technician shortage.

Our major problem with recruiting new talent is that our industry leadership "Just doesn't get it."

Instead of keeping up with the times, many in our industry are stuck in the mindset of the 1950s when an an academic underachiever was placed in auto mechanics programs so "He could work with his hands." Unfortunately, our management methods and pay structure have since followed that very flawed vocational model.

And, using that same 1950s mindset, we continue to counsel academic under-achievers into our auto mechanics programs even as we criticize our instructors for not producing finished auto technicians.

With that said, it's never been possible to produce a finished technician within an 1,100 clock-hour community college program. We taught 1,100 hours 40 years ago when vehicles were equipped with carburetors and point ignitions.

We still find ourselves limited to just 1,100 hours when teaching how to diagnose and repair vehicles that, instead of carbs and points, are equipped with highly sophisticated electronic engine management systems.

Our major problem is that industry simply doesn't accept, in practice, that auto repair has become a highly sophisticated profession.

If industry does indeed want to solve its technician shortage, it must actively support internship programs that allow an auto mechanics student to complete his training by working alongside experienced technicians in a commercial setting.

Instead of trying to steal qualified technicians from other shops, industry should begin teaching its best technicians how to mentor internship students and how to move them along toward becoming journeyman technicians.

If we really want to solve the technician shortage, industry should also begin by providing the new recruit as well as the experienced veteran with pay and working conditions commensurate with the level of education and skill now being demanded.

Right now, we're losing many new recruits to industries willing to provide pay and benefits more in line with the performance levels now being demanded of modern automotive technicians.

Yes, we need education and training. But we also need the pay, benefits, and working conditions that go along with that education and training.

What is it that our "media people" and "industry leaders" don't get???

Gary from Colorado

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