The leadership-apprenticeship training equation
Column by MEGHAN MCEWEN
What does real leadership and coherent management look like in today’s automotive trades setting? Over time, the scope and complexity of our work has increased dramatically, and the use of modern technology has grown exponentially. How are you setting your apprentices up for success?
Consider these strategies:
Most of your major vendors have reps, whose job it is to assist you with product training. Use their skills judiciously to help all your shop staff and especially apprentices gain valuable knowledge. Much of the equipment is complex, and with the current cost of materials, “figure it out” is no longer a viable option when specific training and guidance is necessary.
Financial aid and support:
At the start of my apprenticeship, there were mentors—though few and far between—who were kind enough to provide me with one or two hand me down tools, but it helped get me started. While not “cheap” tools were significantly less “budget destroying” than they are today. The cost associated with equipment and tools has made it all but impossible for the present-day apprentice to show up on day one with what’s necessary to start work.
Buy them a DA! Buy them a primer gun! After all, somebody helped you start out or guided you through and taught you the trade.
Provide significant tool time:
So, they messed something up. This is the learning process and how you deal with the situation will determine if it’s a win or a lost opportunity! Don’t punish someone for making a mistake. Get them back into the booth or back on the tools. Stay with them as a guiding hand until they steady their course. Be a mentor.
Lead by example:
“Do as I say, Not as I do” to my knowledge has never been a useful strategy in any endeavor. Demonstrate your personal shop skills and put them into practice every day. That is the mark of true leadership!
Management strategies akin to bullying, telling one what to do, or micro-managing all guarantee diminished morale which equals pending failure on multiple fronts. Real leaders who strive for excellence and success understand that a positive workplace is a major component in their quest.
We need higher door rates. Shops can’t afford the costs associated with the training of new techs in today’s market. The government’s especially those that have provincial insurance companies should be footing the bill on all training associated with our trades and certification especially after becoming a tradesmen. It’s our money being used it should be used and sent back into our trade creating better techs to fix our cars of the future. Pretty simple. Off loading the costs and responsibilities on the shop without maintaining proper rates throughout the last decades is just dumb math by these so called public corporations. This is why we are where we are at. Scrambling to find trained staff. Low pay in a very niche trade equals a low labour pool. Still don’t understand why industry doesn’t run the show and insurance is ????