One of the largest concerns facing the automotive industry is the shortage of Technicians. Many qualified technicians have left in retirement or have moved on to other industries that also have needs such as fleets or oil fields. Adding to this concern is very few young technicians have chosen to enter into a market with so many challenges. A few of the obstacles for today’s youth that desire to be a technician include requirements of large individual investments for tools and education. Many of these technicians get discouraged when they enter into a dealership environment that forces entry-level to endure low hourly rates or flat rate system without support. Providing a mentor program will allow dealerships to have qualified Technicians on a consistent basis that meets their needs.
- Select recruits based on the quality of character and desire rather than current certifications or tool ownership.
- Have a technician tool assistance program that finances immediate tool needs they have with a reasonable payroll deduction that pays 50% of the amount needed over the next three years. If the technician remains employed at the dealership the end of the third-year amounts remaining in the tool account is forgiven and the Technician amounts they paid are returned to them. If a technician leaves dealership employment they must repay any participation amounts provided by the dealership before removing their tools.
- A realistic hourly rate should be provided to the entry-level technician that will provide enough income to meet the commitments the individual has.
- Choose a mentor technician that has been at the dealership for a substantial period of time. This individual should be highly certified and have a positive attitude towards teaching. They should agree to a monthly review with management on the progress of their trainee.
- Compensation to the mentor Technician should include 50% of the hours flagged by the trainee be credited to the mentor at their existing flat rate compensation. If the technician candidate graduates into a flat rate Technician, the mentor will receive a $2000 bonus as an expression of gratitude for their efforts.
- A minimum of one day per week the trainee will perform online certification courses provided by the manufacturer. This time should also be used for ASE training and certifications.
- If the manufacturer provides off-site training programs that include college certification, consideration should be given to providing that to the trainee. In these instances, commitments must be made by the trainee to the dealership for an employment period of five years to offset dealership investment in tuition. If the trainee leaves dealership employment they would owe the entire amount of funds paid for by the dealership.
- Individuals develop differently, however, a minimum of six months must be allowed for the trainee to develop. At 12 months a candidate should be developed enough to determine if they are capable of advancement. It is understood these individuals may not be capable to rely on the existing flat rate system and still require assistance.
- Merit hourly increases will be provided to the trainee as they meet training certification goals set by management and Technician Mentor.
- Most states have grants and programs that assist in training Automotive Technicians. Federal programs are also possible and will be researched for availability for potential savings.
Rob Gehring, President
Fixed Performance Inc.
1 (888) 205-8718
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