Imagine being a young adult again — training in school to become a technician. All those years tinkering with “toys” in the garage have paid off because now you get to do it as a career. You enroll in your local automotive training program and begin your dream of owning your own shop. After some in-class training, you move out to the shop for some hands-on training — finally getting to work and train on what you love. Sadly, to your dismay, you get to train on dinosaur equipment that is 10+ years old.
How can you expect technicians to be ready to work on new equipment and vehicles in your shop when, in school, they have to train with decade-old equipment? Your shop’s impact on the future of the industry matters.
Here are some ideas on how your shop can get involved with schools.
One of the first steps you should take is to meet a local instructor or advisory committee in your community. Prove to them you are willing and able to help future technicians and be an asset to the local technician training program. You first have to be a solution provider for the school — especially the instructor. Instructors are protective over their students and want the best training, role models, and tools for their students to succeed in the industry. Without first building the relationship, the instructors could be a barrier for you as you try to connect with future technicians and schools.
Engage with Local Talent
The saying goes, “you are a product of your environment.” So why not get involved with interested or training technicians in your community? Engross them in industry, and help guide them to their future in the automotive, diesel, or collision industries.
You can accomplish this by becoming a mentor or encouraging your technicians to do so. How do you get started? Just ask your technicians. They probably have that friend of a friend’s son or daughter who comes to their mind that they could help. If not, you could get involved and help them research. Find your local training program, reach out to the instructor or school, and ask if there are any students they have in mind that are in need of a proper mentor? If that doesn’t work, get on social media. Express that your shop is looking to mentor some up-and-coming technicians, and you need ideas on who needs help getting started in the industry.
Don’t be afraid, get out there, and help develop the industry!
Donate NEW-er Vehicles or Tools
Every class shop’s situation is different. Of course, don’t give or promise what you don’t have, but consider donating vehicles or tools for students to train with. Vehicles aren’t what they used to be. Students need up-to-date materials in order to train, grow, and become successful technicians.
If your shop doesn’t have extra materials to donate, consider your connections (vendors) or other shop owners in your area. Do they have extra materials they would be willing to part with in order to better the future of the industry? It doesn’t hurt to ask. The favor they fulfill could change the training offered by a school in your community.
Ask an Instructor or School
There is no use in your shop donating materials a school already has, or offering mentoring they are already in abundance of. Before you go too far, it might help to just step back and ask the instructor or school what their training program needs? It might not be what you think, and it might be easier than what you think. You never know until you ask!
Join a Committee
Consider sitting on a committee or a board for your local school or training program. Your knowledge of the industry and experience being a shop owner is just what the committee needs in order to be an advocate for proper technician training. You may think, “They have it under control,” or “What could I possibly do on a committee?” Whatever it may be, don’t sell yourself, your shop, or your technicians short. Be a part of the voice of your community and, more importantly, be the voice for future technicians in your area.
If you can’t be on a committee or board, consider encouraging a manager or a hardworking technician at your shop to get involved. They could represent your shop, even though you might not be able to.
“Do you want to donate to your local technician program?”
“Can one of your technicians be a mentor for one of my students?”
“Do you want to speak to the class about what it is like to own a shop?”
“Can our class take a tour of your shop?”
“Can one of our students job shadow a technician of yours?”
Don’t overthink it. Obviously, think about if you can realistically meet the requirements of what is being asked of you, your shop, or your technicians, but don’t over do it. Don’t talk yourself out of it due to the time commitment or because you believe you or your shop isn’t good enough. You can help, whether it is a big or a small ask, just say yes.
Most importantly, allow your technicians at your shop the ability to say yes too.
Login to School Connect (for Free!) & Engage with Local Schools
Wondering how to get started? Check out WrenchWay School Connect!
School Connect is a free platform where you (shops and dealerships) can connect with local high schools and colleges to provide them the resources they need to attract, train, and retain students in the industry.
How It Works
- Schools post requests, like for tools or to take a shop tour.
- Shops post available tools they want to donate, or availability they have to speak to a class, etc.
- Whenever there is a match between a shop and a school, then they can message each other and work together.
Learn more about School Connect, and sign up your shop for free today!