Are We Vampires? Why Do We Only Come Out At Night? A Call For More Daytime Training

Brin Diagnostician Melbourne, Florida Posted   Latest   Edited  

My friend Matthew Shanahan recently posted a very cool case study here on DN. His case study was titled "Myth-Test The "Basics" First. In this post he wasn't challenging the idea of testing the basics. He was challenging our idea of the basics, or more so, our inability to change our idea of what the basics are. At least that's what I got out of the post. I think his post was awesome, but I really want to draw attention to something that he said when he was replying to a comment on that same post. In his reply, he shared his frustration with how narrow sighted our industry can be when it comes to seeing the value in taking advantage of learning opportunities during the business day. 

I really appreciated his comment because I've been an advocate for daytime training for a few years now. It surprises me, how long it took for me to realize how unfair it was that nearly all our training resources are only available after business hours. I don't think that I'm alone. I think others fail to realize how inappropriate this is too. Our professionals need to sharpen the saw too. We need our time. For some of us, automotive technology is our life. For some of us, there's not much we'd rather do but we can't expect that from everyone. We certainly can't expect that moving forward as we continue to try to find ways to attract the talent that our industry needs. We can't expect to attract high level individuals if we can't fix a lot of things and one of those things is making more training available during normal business as opposed to asking our professionals to use their own time to stay on top of things. I'm not suggesting that we must stop everything that we're doing. I'm merely suggesting that we consider making some adjustments (Like fuel trims). 

Going back to Matthews comment, His example was a live/broken vehicle. I personally think that there are few better ways to learn than on a live/broken vehicle. The only problem with using live/broken vehicles as opportunities to learn, is those scenarios are hard to plan. I think a large part of the reason for our lack of daytime training is due to our lack of planning. We need to be willing to schedule time for our team members to attend training. We can't rely solely on slow times because they often don't come and when they do, we have other things to do. 

Show your team that they are worth investing in. Get them out of the shop for a day here and there. Turn their jobs into careers. More often than not, you, your company, your team, and the industry will benefit. 

Several training companies do offer day time training. I hope that others will chime in and enlighten us with some details in this area. I also know that several training companies have tried to make training available with little to no success. The seats weren’t being filled. Let's ask for more daytime training and follow through with our commitment to fill the seats.

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Chris Diagnostician
Commack, New York
Chris Default
 

I understand Brin. I think part of the issue is owners not seeing the value in daytime training. This needs to change. Making training mandatory and a planned expense would help. It's hard enough to find a job in our industry that gives paid vacation, and when they do, the tech needs to choose between spending time with their family or at a training event. If training was a mandatory, planned

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Brin Diagnostician
Melbourne, Florida
Brin Default
   

Thanks Chris. Yes, we don't often do what we don't plan for.

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Keith Instructor
Collinsville, Oklahoma
Keith Default
 

That puts the pressure on "someone" to create a curriculum and schedule to do this training during business hours. I think this puts us in the chicken or the egg scenario.....right? If they offer the training and no one can attend, do they stop? If no one offers the training, how can we attend? These are all the "how do we fix it" questions that pop in my head. Comments? Remarks?

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Chris Diagnostician
Commack, New York
Chris Default
 

I think we are heading in the right direction as evidenced by VISION having their highest attendance last year. The message is spreading. we just need to keep spreading the message. Training needs to be made available locally. The local mechanic needs to be made aware. Maybe part of the problem is they are unwilling to pay for something they "know" won't be worth it. Maybe more "sponsor funded"

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Brin Diagnostician
Melbourne, Florida
Brin Default
 

Thanks Chris. LET"S SHOUT IT FROM THE MOUNTAIN TOPS!

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Brin Diagnostician
Melbourne, Florida
Brin Default
 

We have the curriculum but yes, trainers will need seats filled to make it work. I'm hoping that we, as an industry will start going in this direction but first, we need to open a dialog. I truly think that most haven't put much thought into it. This is the way I look at it. If dealer franchises and corporate chain stores can do it, we can too.

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Michael Diagnostician
Atlanta, Georgia
Michael Default
 

I use live/broken cars all the time to train the rest of the techs in the shop best way for them to learn it to do it with someone in house to help if they go left instead of the "right" way. I have pushed many tech to improve their skills this way, sometimes with a small push that helps them learn, other times kicking them in the deep end, but still at the edge, ready to "save" them. Great Post

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Chris Diagnostician
Commack, New York
Chris Default
 

I agree. I've had mixed results. Sometimes the people I was helping would shut their brain off and wait for me. When it would come time to toss them in the deep end, they would sink and pull me down with them. Other times people have learned.

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Brin Diagnostician
Melbourne, Florida
Brin Default
 

Yes, both of those are typical scenarios. I think that the important thing to consider is, we need to focus on the ones we got through to. If we focus on the ones that we can't get through to, we burn out. That being said, if we give 10 pieces of solid advise to an individual and they ignore 7 but take 3, remember, you made a positive influence on that individual 3 times. 3 is better than 0.

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Brin Diagnostician
Melbourne, Florida
Brin Default
 

Absolutely. There's no better way to learn than on real broken cars with someone knowledgeable to guide you​.​Thanks Michael.

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Charles Instructor
Fitchburg, Massachusetts
Charles Default
   

I agree wholeheartedly and have been an advocate of day and evening training sessions. Back when, yes I said it but it sounds better than ...years ago or I remember when. You see there was a GM Training Center in Dedham Ma. and it was the "Go too place " for those of us who meant this to be a career not a job. ALL the training and educational venues were daytime and at any given time of the week

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Brin Diagnostician
Melbourne, Florida
Brin Default
 

Wow Charles, that was a mouth full! Yes, it can be a bit cliche to say, "those were the good old days", but after hearing about the GM training center and the IM program, I would understand if you did. Hearing your story, is a reminder to everyone that we need to campaign to acquire and retain our safety and emissions programs. I also need to "come in contact" with not one but all of your past

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Michael Diagnostician
Holt, Michigan
Michael Default
 

I actually find there is alot of day time training available but its not practical to attend it all. This is a major factor for some shops that only run 2 too 3 techs in the shop yet has the work load for 4 techs. Unfortunately closing down for a day or two for some shops could cost thousands of dollars but also not attending training can cost thousands quickly with Misdiagnosis. So how can we

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David Diagnostician
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
David Default
 

Mike your point is exactly what our shop runs into. We have a 3 bay shop with two techs and an owner/service writer working the front counter. We work very hard to be able to close the shop down for certain events like Vision every year. Vision is what inspired a few of us Philly guys to organize and make Super Saturday a much bigger event than it was prior to last year. Our goal was to get our

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Matthew Owner/Technician
Beecher, Illinois
Matthew Default
 

Great point about the shops losing money for the day, but could lose that just as easily by being under trained. I think the training shift needs to happen at a different level, management training. Most of the automotive management classes I have attended are so narrow sighted on daily and weekly numbers. Also, there are certain things you just simply cannot calculate ROI for, best judgement

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Brin Diagnostician
Melbourne, Florida
Brin Default
 

Michael, When you say that you find that there's a lot of day time training, are you referring to traditional classroom leader led, hands on leader led training or something something less traditional? Are you referring to National training events? I agree, it can be hard for any shop to send any of their team to training during production time but especially for smaller companies with less

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Michael Diagnostician
Holt, Michigan
Michael Default
 

Yeah its tough thats for sure and yes I was referencing the national events seems most of them are during work hours. Of course in my area we have some of the very best trainers available like John Thornton. I think alot of the local stuff dont seem to be well advertised at least for my area. I didnt realize CTI did anything in my area until very recent. And yeah asking techs to give up their

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Matthew Owner/Technician
Beecher, Illinois
Matthew Default
   

Great post, Brin. Thanks for the shout out! To be honest I have become less concerned about the industry as a whole, my concern is the long-term sustainability of independent shops. There are many factors that make me concerned like tooling - that's a whole other post :-) One recurring theme at conferences, in magazine articles, and every independent shop owner I ever see is the technician

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Jeffry Educator
Québec, Quebec
Jeffry Default
 

Word

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Brin Diagnostician
Melbourne, Florida
Brin Default
 

Word Indeed!

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Joe Technician
Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina
Joe Default
 

I agree with you. I think not only tech training but management training is needed. I feel one of the biggest reasons why I don’t see a lot of training opportunities in my area is turn over. I can think of over 2 dozen people in my area that make a circuit of the independent and dealers. They never stay, while I know a lot is the guys - surely some of this is on management. I wouldn’t hire not

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Brin Diagnostician
Melbourne, Florida
Brin Default
 

Yes! Both, management and technical technical training is needed. Great leadership is everything. In my opinion, we have been in trouble. We aren't treating our selves or our teams like we should but through open dialog like this, and by sharing these conversations with others, we will continue to get better. I'm so stoked that you are attending ASTE later this month. Look up Isaac Rodell…

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Joe Technician
Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina
Joe Default
 

I met Isaac last year at it. I will be sure to talk with them.

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William Diagnostician
Ashland, Virginia
William Default
 

All the replies to this are great! I ran some Saturday training 10 years ago, and had decent attendance, but it finally stopped working. In this area daytime training just won't work (central VA). The shops won't let the techs loose to attend for all the usual reasons. The fix is for shops to build daytime training costs (lost production, tech pay, class costs) into their labor rate/ROI

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