This episode of WrenchWay Weekly talks about internship and apprenticeship programs. Watch the full episode, or review the episode highlights below.
Do Most Shops Have Apprenticeship or Internship Programs?
A recent WrenchWay Insiders poll asked, “Does your shop or dealership have an apprenticeship or internship program? Here were the results:
- Yes: 34.88%
- No: 65.12%
The results are apparent. Most shops don’t have an organized internship or apprenticeship in place to help young technicians. This is a huge missed opportunity for shops.
Help Prepare New Technicians for the Shop
While newly graduated technicians may have the specialized skills to begin their careers, a frequent grievance from shop management is that these novice technicians are not prepared to work in a shop. In other words, they can perform the service and repair work but are unfamiliar with a shop’s day-to-day procedures and workflow. An internship or apprenticeship program can involve fundamental activities like mentoring or job shadowing that would help build these missing skills.
Easy Steps to Create a Technician Internship or Apprenticeship Program
The ideal program for helping new technicians become familiar with “shop life” doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Simple approaches can ensure success without being overly time-consuming or a drain on the budget.
- Identify and Guide the Right People: Determine what people in your shop are best suited to coach new talent. From there, provide guidance on what’s expected to help these interns or apprentices. Importantly, check back with these mentors regularly.
- Work with the Schools: Involve your local schools and technician programs in your efforts. In addition to letting instructors know you have a plan for new technicians, work with the schools on curriculum development. Identifying important study areas could be as simple as encouraging students to work on their English skills so they can correctly write up a shop work order.
- Learn from Great Examples: Look at existing industry internship or apprenticeship programs for inspiration. For example, Toyota’s T-TEN program begins at the high school level and creates a two-year path leading to a technician receiving up to nine ASE certifications.
A program for budding technicians can begin with one step. Grab a pen and paper or open up the computer. Get started now by jotting down what your first steps would be for an internship or apprenticeship program.