The newsLINK Group - Dealerships Need More Young Technicians

Editorial Library Category: Automobile Topics: Service Department Title: Dealerships Need More Young Technicians Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: To make that happy cycle of profitability continue into the indefinite future, dealerships need one important resource: a ready supply of young technicians. But that is where the situation becomes a little trickier. Young, qualified technicians are scarce and may need different handling than technicians from previous generations. Editorial: Dealerships Need More Young Technicians 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 Dealership car repair shops are usually profitable. In fact, at some dealerships they are more profitable than the sales department. A good repair shop at a car dealership also matters because excellent service can persuade a customer to come back again later, not just for service but also maybe for another car from the same dealership. To make that happy cycle of profitability continue into the indefinite future, dealerships need one important resource: a ready supply of young technicians. But that is where the situation becomes a little trickier. Young, qualified technicians are scarce and may need different handling than technicians from previous generations. Sometime during 2015, millennials will become the largest part of the workforce. However, hiring managers say it is hard to find them when a job needs to be filled, and it is also hard to keep them. They expect to move on to something new in three years or less. They tend to be creative, open to change, adaptable, and entrepreneurial … but they can also be narcissistic and they often have no clue about how to be a good team player. Many young people are directing their educational efforts toward science, math, and a college degree. That is largely thanks to the efforts of the educational system and their parents. In particular, No Child Left Behind emphasizes core subjects, not vocational subjects such as machining, shop, or welding. Schools cut or dropped vocational classes because they weren’t a good source of federal funding. What many educators and parents may not realize, however, is the amount of technical knowledge required by a technician today, how much a technician can earn, or how strong the demand is. High schools are often not as up-to-date as they need to be when it comes to teaching those who are interested in learning the necessary skills. As cars have become more sophisticated, they’ve also gotten harder for an amateur to fix. Nobody can just walk up to a car with a bag of tools anymore and expect to be able to do much. You need the right tools. It turns out those tools are expensive and, possibly, out of financial reach for many schools. The price tag for an Integrated Diagnostic System (IDS) such as a dealership’s repair shop might have is $4,000. In addition, there is a monthly software license fee to pay. Many schools can’t afford that. Cars for students to work on are sometimes older model cars. Add in the space requirements for a shop where students can train, and it becomes even more difficult for a school to keep its programs going when enrollment goes down or teachers retire. The result is inadequate programs that don’t lay a good foundation even if some students have a strong interest. A lot of dealerships don’t hire any technician who is less than 18 years of age. This is usually because of insurance issues. According to Damon Friend, who is a transportation instructor at Oakland Schools Technical Campus Southwest, which is located in Wixom, Michigan, lowering the minimum age by as little as six months would go a long way toward helping dealerships find new mechanics. By the time the prospective mechanics are 18, they’ve often found something else to do instead. Faced with potential shortages, and the negative impact that has on any dealership, what can dealers do to turn the situation around? Understand the millennial mindset so you can work more effectively with them. Be advocates within the school system for your future employees. Create relationships with mentors. Understanding the Millennial Mindset Millennials are those who were born between 1982 and 2005. In generally, they’ve received praise since their earliest childhood for doing anything that could be classified as creative or innovative. Most of them were playing video

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