Education is in Perfect Alignment with Industry, Right?

Michael Mobile Technician Clinton, Utah Posted   Latest  

So today I met with the faculty of a local automotive trade school. I had a shop owner and a business consultant with me. The shop owner explained in as nice of way that he could that the students they were graduating were not ready for industry. The response was that they had a 100% placement and they are NATEF and COE certified. The shop owner then explained that he had hired 4 of their graduates and was only able to keep one of them. I guess that they were 100% hired once. Does that count? The faculty and administrator stated that they had a solid program that prepared the students to fix cars. Our contention was that the students should be working in automotive along side the school work. Most work in fast food or other gateway job. Wouldn't be better to have host shops with Master Technicians to help them on their path? Our vision is a system that keeps the students doing jobs and adding to their skills one step at a time. Line upon line, skill upon skill. Two years is a long time to remember how to read a dial indicator or how to check a voltage drop. Repetition seems to be what keeps us sharp. I know some are educators. Some are trainers, some shop owners and some technicians. It would be great if you could share how you see this picture. Thoughts?

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Bill Technician
Rosetown, Saskatchewan
Bill
   

This is something I think about a fair bit. There are no easy answers. I am from Canada where we have an apprenticeship program. Students finish the approximate 4 year program with approximately 2 months in class per year and the remainder hands on at work. At the completion of the 4 year program most are fairly competent. After completion some go on to further train and others don't. I think

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael
 

Bill, I like so much of what Canada has done to improve technician competence. I would like to see this adopted by industry vs. being dictated to by the government. We need schools to see the benefit of working while learning at the same time. The strange thing is that other trades do this both union and non-union.

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Ryan Technician
Edmonton, Alberta
Ryan
 

Learn from our mistakes though. I used to be on the apprenticeship committee for Alberta. They have a mandate that the pass rate is kept in the mid eighties. If a question was flagged with too many students getting it wrong, we would have to change it so that it was easier. We still have way too many people pushed through our system that are terrible mechanics.

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Jeffry Educator
Québec, Quebec
Jeffry
 

Hi Ryan, What do you call a med school student that graduates at the bottom of their class? Doctor Only in Lake Wobegon are all the children above average. (-; Regards,

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Ryan Technician
Edmonton, Alberta
Ryan
   

Oh I agree with that. I just feel that the standard needs to be raised. The pass rate doesn't need to be that high. The other part I failed to mention falls on the industry side. Service managers signing off on apprentice hours as "satisfactory" when they should be checking "unsatisfactory" which I have yet to even hear of happening. If both sides did a better job, we would have a better job

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Corey Owner/Technician
Staten Island, New York
Corey
 

We have a local CTE High School that is in a similar predicament. The major difference is, they're willing to listen. I used a connection I had to get my foot in the door for a meeting with some faculty there. I was fortunate to have a fellow Diag​.​net member by my side (I'll let him chime in if he likes). We exchanged some ideas that we had to get young students interested in the

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Richard Instructor
Palmetto, Florida
Richard
 

All school programs should have an advisory board made up of local shop owners or service managers that can contribute to the real world needs of the employer. Unfortunately, as Michael has seen, many programs are run by instructors that don’t care or realize what needs to be done or don’t take the advidory boards advice because they “have always done it this way” or “have 100% job placement“ or

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Hans Diagnostician
Salt Lake City, Utah
Hans
 

Must be something in the air in Utah right now! Interesting to see this post after what I wrote today! I'll be interpreting the NATEF standards a little loosely and applying them how I see fit

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael
 

I am happy for your situation. It would be better for all if the schools essentially turned over the syllabus to industry. I spoke to an instructor last night that has been a friend for years. He told me he has two lab books. One to satisfy NATEF and one to learn what they need to succeed in industry. I know that the ASE works hard to establish standards for good learning. Maybe more industry

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Hans Diagnostician
Salt Lake City, Utah
Hans
 

I've been sitting in more classes at SLCC for my BS degree and realize they need to be changed significantly. Personally I'd like to see more electronics and advanced electrical training, and less parts hanging done at the school. Plus the time they are spending on information that is dated, could be better used other places. My opinion is students should have a comprehensive MLR class that's at

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Rick Technical Support Specialist
Saint Charles, Missouri
Rick
 

Whoa ! Gentleman. Pull back on the reins a bit before we serve up automotive instructors and their programs to the lions. These kids did not grow up fixing their bicycle, lawn mower, mini bike or go cart. Many who enter these automotive programs have never opened a tool box drawer let alone know how to use the tools in them. The school system has changed in many many ways. High schools are

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael
 

Rick, You have a great point that many of these students like the idea of fixing cars but have not had any experience growing up. This is foreign to me as I grew up in a rural area and had plenty of opportunities to learn on my own. In fact, in College, the classes were quite easy for me due to the experience on the farm. I think many of those who represent the schools underestimate the power

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael
 

Hans, Back when I was a full time technician, the shop I worked for had many parents that wanted us to apprentice their sons who were turning sixteen. I found that training them to hang brakes or swap a water pump was easy. Other more complicated tasks like changing an engine or doing a timing belt came with a bit of patience on my part. The ones with a little fire in their belly did well. Those

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Nathan Business Development Manager
Québec, Quebec
Nathan
 

Hi Michael, I often wish that the Canadian apprenticeship model was better understood south of the border. While no model is perfect, the apprenticeship system naturally addresses many of the issues that we see here. In general terms, there are 2 main paths to becoming an automotive service technician in Canada. - A one year (certificate) or two year (diploma) program offered by community

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Mike Mobile Technician
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Mike
 

I love this. From the surface it seems like this pretty much forces an independant to either hire a licensed technician or sponsor one. There really are no other options correct? And does the licensing expire or have to be updated? Forgive me if this info is in the files attached as I only skimmed them.

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Nathan Business Development Manager
Québec, Quebec
Nathan
 

It varies from province to province. In a province where automotive is a compulsory trade, your statement is correct "forces an independant to either hire a licensed technician or sponsor one. There really are no other option" The Red Seal license is permanent, however some provinces require you to pay a fee to maintain a valid license. There are no update tests, so a Red Seal license from

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Mike Mobile Technician
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Mike
 

That is interesting. Thanks for the insight. It is still far ahead of what we are doing.

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James Instructor
Boucherville, Quebec
James
 

The only thing I would like to add is no matter what we do on the promotion of our industry to bring new techs in as well as on the education side. I think we need to do something on the shop owner side. I have seen too many new techs come in and leave the industry within the first few years. We need to keep the new techs that we train in the industry. We would have less of a tech shortage if we

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael
 

James, I spoke to a four year automotive college instructor a few weeks ago. I talked to him about my apprenticeship ideas. One thing mentioned was that the college instructors encouraged the students to get part time jobs in the industry. The student experience was very poor. Shop owners and managers were impatient with the students. They denigrated them in front of their peers. Instead of

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James Instructor
Boucherville, Quebec
James
 

I have also seen that at shops I worked at as well, This one particular owner just ran apprentices out of the industry. Fixing cars is harder than ever, rewarding/challenging, but hard. There are almost no straightforward jobs. What used to be easy always has some sort curve ball added. eg. change a battery need to do a battery sensor relearn etc​.​etc The learning curve is steep and

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Jeffry Educator
Québec, Quebec
Jeffry
   

Hi Michael, I'm happy that you started this thread, and mostly agree with almost all of the comments. Let me add some observations within some quotes from your post. "The shop owner then explained that he had hired 4 of their graduates and was only able to keep one of them." Upon this comment I would follow up and ask the shop owner this, "What is your retention rate for hiring regular

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael
 

Jeffry, Thank you for your comments. In defense of the shop owner, he is very seasoned. His team did give the graduated students several months to figure it out. He mentioned that the graduated students could not identify a master cylinder, left drain plugs loose, could not change a water pump or install brake shoes correctly. This is why they were released from his employ. He did not expect

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Chris Technical Support Specialist
Commack, New York
Chris
 

I have seen many student from high school and college programs be "DOOMED" to the lube rack or quick maintenance teams. The idea of getting a college degree to hope you do two brake jobs a week to break up the monotony of change oil an rotating tires is awful. However, this is a reality in many shops. Very few entry level (even when equipped with factory certs and a college degree) ever get the

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael
 

Chris, You said it well. I am ready to help change this. What do we need to do as a community to assist industry in making the change?

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Mike Mobile Technician
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Mike
   

I wholeheartedly agree with the fact that a student will learn better and be better prepared working in the industry while attending school. When I made the transition from technician to instructor it really hit me how long it took me to develop the skills necessary to be an all around good technician. Imagine teaching a someone who has never laid their eyes on a voltmeter how to diagnose a

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Hans Diagnostician
Salt Lake City, Utah
Hans
 

This paragraph is great: "I would be curious where those four techs ended up. What I see all to often is our students getting hired on halfway through our program and losing interest, eventually quitting the job and not completing our program. The only logical reason I can see behind this is that they decide the industry just isn't for them. The students that don't care are less likely to put

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael
 

All the comments are very appreciated. It is fantastic that all have responded recognize the need for improvement. It has been expressed that this improvement needs to be made both in industry and on the side of education. Although not perfect, the Canadian system of apprenticeship and certification is something the States should consider. I would really like the industry to adopt it's own

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Mike Mobile Technician
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Mike
 

I feel the same. I enjoy what I do. I enjoy the problem solving but I'm also not super intelligent or incredibly technical. It is beyond frustrating to watch students with much more potential than I have to enter the industry working for a filthy, poorly equipped shop only to lose interest. Most of the intelligent ones that would make allstar technicians are intelligent enough to know that they

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael
 

Another article about tech shortage: autonews​.​com/article/201808…

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Matthew Owner/Technician
Beecher, Illinois
Matthew
 

Michael, here is my viewpoint; FWIW I teach for a very well funded program that has great faculty. I spend my afternoons and days off as a mobile tech and summers working in a shop. To be honest, our advisory board has great members that contribute, but the reality is our faculty are more in touch with industry needs. As a result, our equipment and curriculum are on par with what the industry

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Jaime Diagnostician
Ocala, Florida
Jaime
 

Michael, What I may have missed in your post was where I think the shop owner may have benefitted. That is, there was no mention of his attending "mock interview days", where people actively employed in the industry meet face-to-face with students in (as the name implies) a mock job interview. This is an educational experience for the students to hone their soft skills, learn to better answer

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael
 

Hi Jaime, Thank you for your comments. We are on the same page. As far as soft skills, the impression is that the graduates had been coached quite well. They knew what to say to get hired. The purpose of the meeting was to start a dialog that would help the school be lead to a more solid curriculum. Right now they have zero classroom activities. This learning is offered 100% online. The shop

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Jaime Diagnostician
Ocala, Florida
Jaime
 

Michael, I applaud your attempt to get the school and the shop owner together. This 'educational program' sounds peculiar to me... The 100% online instruction - then do the task while supervised (coached) doesn't sound to me like the student's comprehension is the primary focus. That's sad. This "school" I hope, is a private institution not funded or subsidized by taxpayer dollars (because it

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Hans Diagnostician
Salt Lake City, Utah
Hans
 

My local community college is also planning on going to a competency based theory class. They will read about everything online and then come into the lab class and prove they learned something. I am skeptical of this type of setup as well. I was talking to the engines teacher yesterday and he was telling me he could talk about how to do a compression test (with a gauge) all morning in class and

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Jeffry Educator
Québec, Quebec
Jeffry
 

Hi Hans, I advocate teaching theory imbedded in troubleshooting exercises. I also believe that repetition and reflection are key elements to our learning processes. The best teachers allow time for repetition in troubleshooting and require reflection from the student on their learning. Regular and written reflection. Electrical seems to come up a lot. (-; When I started teaching I had the

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael
 

Hans, I really like that you are thinking of more ways to involve the students in learning, then applying the learning in a more relevant environment. What if there were an arrangement with a national lube and maintenance corporation? These entities hire and train employees that soon quit. I believe that it is because there is not much to look forward to. Who wants to rotate tires or change

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John Educator
Toronto, Ontario
John
 

What a fantastic conversation. I am new here, in fact I just joined about an hour ago and while finding my way around I came across this …. I realize that it is a few month's old, but I'm going to chime in anyway. As you can see by my profile description I am an educator at a college up here in Toronto. I'm fairly new to the game having started this second career in 2014 after having had a

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael
 

Hi John, Thank you for sharing. Since writing this article I have had the opportunity to converse with educators such as yourself who take their work seriously. I realize that you have a very difficult job. This is compounded by the lack of participation from industry. Most of the problems I see on a daily basis are a result of technicians either being unaware of diagnostic best practices or

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John Educator
Toronto, Ontario
John
 

Hi Mike, I have these conversations with new instructors all of the time that come from shops where following trouble charts and going straight to identifix is the norm. They get this funny look when I ask them to teach wiring diagram color coding and analysis so that when I see the students in the second year they have kind of a clue. I love it when they say they never use scopes, all

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