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Finding and hiring qualified new technicians is getting more difficult. There just aren’t that many out there. As we discussed in Part I of this blog, creating an individual training path for your technicians is one way to keep the good ones you already have. It shows them you’re investing in their growth and helps develop an even more talented team. In Part II, we’ll examine the idea of growing your technicians from the ground up, from students and interns to top technicians.
New hires nurtured from the beginning of their careers can evolve into more loyal, high-producing employees than those in advanced career stages. They can be groomed, tend to have fewer bad habits, and adapt easier to dealership processes. The best place to find these moldable new hires is in the automotive programs at secondary and post-secondary technical schools.
Choose Secondary and Post-Secondary Students
Community vocational schools and post-secondary automotive programs require students to intern. Whether generic or OEM-specific, these programs also utilize local employer advisory boards to contribute to the curriculum based on current industry needs. Dealerships with service managers on these boards get first crack at the best apprentices. To find local opportunities, check with your state’s automotive advocacy organization, your franchise’s representative, or these online resources:
A suitable mentor has to have the demeanor, skill level, and experience to properly guide the intern. To best fill the role, the mentor must understand and support your dealership’s commitment to utilizing apprentices. They need to help bring those student apprentices up through ranks and not be threatened by the concept.
What’s in it for the mentor? Compensate them for taking on the responsibility with a pay rate increase or assigning the apprentice’s billed hours to them. As the student’s knowledge and skills grow, they will require less guidance and can work more independently. The student can then start to retain a portion of their produced hours.
Offer Tuition Reimbursement
The cost of post-secondary school is growing. The soaring cost has had an unfortunate effect on student enrollment. Tuition reimbursement is a mutually beneficial investment and a rewarding way to secure a competent student.
Tuition reimbursement also serves as a retention tool. By dispersing the payments incrementally after graduation, you motivate them to stay in your shop longer. The longer they stay, the more likely they will become long-term team members.
Provide Tool Scholarships
As you know, a technician’s tools are an extremely large investment. Too many students are deterred from even beginning this career due to the impending cost to get started. Snap-on and AYES have student tool and tool box plans to help get students over this hurdle with quality tools that can be used throughout their career. A scholarship does involve investment from the dealership; however, the student pays this investment back with tenure after graduation. You can visit www.ayes.org/Students-Parents/Scholarships/AYES-SnapOn-Tools.aspx for more information.
Growing your technicians from the student level is definitely a long-term investment. But, the promise of a long-term, loyal, and proficient technician is well worth it.
In Part III of this blog, we will discuss different pay structures that encourage your technicians to produce while boosting morale. Stay tuned!