Training: Expectations, Short comings, Wishes. Ideas?
How many of you attend some form of training? What kind do you attend if any? If you are an employee, is the training paid for or reimbursed? If you are an employer, what is your expectation for your employees to train? Are there any incentives offered?
If you do attend training, what do you look for in the presentation and/or material?
What are some if the thing that turn you off in a class?
Has there been anything that has changed your outlook on your chosen profession?
I'm looking to start a conversation about this. I feel if enough is shared, we all will work together to take this industry to the next level.
I attend training on a somewhat regular basis and most of it is at my own expense. There is no reward that I recieve from the shop but I do gain the knowledge to be better at the job at hand. One very important thing to any training is using it immediately when you get back into the shop so to retain what you learned.
If shops hope to have a diag guy then they need to build one and not having them removing engines or transmissions all day but feed them the diag and they will start to grow. Then offer to send them to training and help them succeed and in return you end up with a better and happier technician thats no longer guessing on what the car needs but is testing correctly.
I know its difficult to understand if you can have a diag guy or not but most cases I think it is. Every car that comes in has some sort of issue that needs to be looked at whether its a check engine light or noise or even a leak. They all need testing to see what the vehicle needs to be corrected so why not have a guy doing all of this to feed the rest of the ones in the shop that may just wanna put parts on a car and not have to worry about how to test this or that. Obviously you would need to talk with your team to see if that is possible. Everyone in the shop should have a chance to go and experience training at least twice a year.
LOVE THIS RESPONSE!!! ON POINT !!!
Chris, great topic! I believe there is no such thing as too much training and I attend any event that's feasible. I prefer in-person training vs online because even if the class is not what you wanted or expected it's a great opportunity to network with other techs. Sometimes you learn more at break time than during the class!
We pay for all of our employees training as well as certification testing.
I appreciate it when a jobber, tool company or parts manufacturer offers free or affordable training even if there's a small sales pitch or the material is pointed to their product. If the training is good it's easy to look past.
I think the best classes are when the instructor makes it feels like a conversation rather than a traditional classroom setting.
How about multi-day training events that you have to travel to?
I've attended Vision twice now and it really set off a spark inside me. So many great minds in one place is truly inspiring.
I've also attended TST's Big Event several times and highly recommend it.
Being a small shop it's tough for me to travel far. Any day away from the shop directly effects my bottom line.
I enjoy a course that you learn from. I found often times that the dealer training I took was geared towards filling out answers in a book.
I like to know how a system operates and find the aftermarket training seems to do a better job of that than the factory training I have taken. Explanations of currents,voltages and pressures are explained instead of procedures.
I like it when a class is hands on as well. I like having a bugged vehicle, but then maybe its more like work than training. Hopefully the bug would be unusual and maybe some type of case study reference material could be gained from it.
"Has there been anything that has changed your outlook on your chosen profession?"
I am sorry. I do not quite understand what context this is in.
What I meant was, was there ever a class you attended that Reignited your passion for your career? Completely changed your outlook? For me, it was the first time I took a Luke Murray BMW class. Before that I only took the local parts house training/sales session. That class showed me there is a better class of training out there, and it was accessible to me. It ignited a passion in me and is directly responsible for the career path I am on now.
Also, what about training books? My one biggest gripe is a book that is useless without the class or power point. A good training book is one that can stand on its own, and can be reviewed and used as a reference later on.
I agree. Training material that can easily be referenced in the bay is key. Some are too long, wordy and tough to reference quickly.
Often the hand-out is just a printed version of the PowerPoint. Not all presentations transfer well into reference material.
The best are laid out logically, concise, and have easy to reference specs and testing procedures.
I took a Scot Manna course. It was above and beyond the factory training I was familiar with. It maybe appealed to me because he explains how things work instead of how to read procedures in a book. I enjoy John Thornton video's. Some of my connections are very smart people that teach me a lot. I enjoy reading engineering books. I would say that none of these really changed my outlook or career path. I like fixing cars, teaching and serving/helping people. These trainers and many others are top notch, and really do make you realize there is some great content out there.
In regards to training content, how about anything that provides a deep look at the inner-workings of "stuff" and why it exists, how it works, what strategies are in place, etc?
For decades, mechanics have been figuring stuff out by disassembly (obviously some things you cannot disassemble). For me, I'm a visual learner which helps me understand and correlate the conditions I'm see on a vehicle with a deeper look into what's really going on in the background.
Exactly Scott! This is why I did that with my class. I broke the the complicated stuff down to its component level. I too find this to be the best way to learn. If I know how something is made, I can diagnose it better. I believe that those types of classes should have many component breakdowns, diagrams, and animations.
For the last two months I have been doing ASE prep training for a 25 store repair chain. The first class was about 4 hours long. We had three hours in the classroom, a quick lunch and another hour in the shop. We bugged three cars to apply the classroom learning. The feedback from the first class was that the classroom time was too long. Another was that the classroom time did not go into enough detail. Another was that there were no books to follow along the slides. We printed the slides and placed them in a binder. We narrowed the scope of material and spent more time each topic. We increased the shop time as well. We had the top technicians bug the cars and lead two of the hands on modules. We now try to have 1.5 Hrs instruction, quick lunch and 1.5 hours in the shop. This seems to work the best for this group.
That's great. As a hands on learner, the hands on classes are the best. I'm an advocate of more hands on training. Some trainers say that it's hard to get techs to go to hands on training, so they cancel the curriculum. Some people see this as a reason to stay away from teaching in this style. I see it as a challenge to create great material. I am currently in the beginning some hands on training with Trained by Techs. The format we have in our heads would hopefully be meaningful and revolutionary. I know the response will be great.
This type of class sounds very interesting. When we know how a system is supposed to function, it makes diagnosing it easier. To often service information does not give us all the details we're looking for. Taking something apart to figure it out is not always an option.
Noticed your teaching it at the ASA PA Super Saturday event in October.
My goal is for attendees to leave with a deeper understanding of some of the special operations taking place within the ECU and to gain a little more perspective with understand some of the data the scantool produces, simple formulas, and some how's and why's etc. For example, how do you suppose this spark control function came about?
Study the image and let me know what you see. I have 4 hours so I'm really looking forward to the discussion within the class. If you signed up for this slot, great. I know now that we'll have at least three folks together that can get the conversations started 🧐
Sign up for this class because I was very intrigued. Not sure 4 hours is going to be enough.
Like the different approach your taking.
What are you looking for? The reason that they built retarded timing into the software for noise reduction? I would say I do not know. I did not realize that was a thing. At what temperature is this table active and what engine is this?
I believe this came about in the late 90’s early 2000’s with the introduction of short skirt pistons which generated quite a bit clatter. I can only speculate because I remember seeing either a PI or bulletin about the noise and a fix that was on the way. If this indeed was the fix, think of the warranty cost savings vs a mechanical repair.
As for the qualifiers, I’ll dig into that later and let you know.
Well that makes sense then. Reduced combustion pressure or BMEP until the pistons fit the hole tighter. Nice. I did not make the connection.
I guess another side benefit to retarding the timing would be more heat to help expand the pistons sooner. Neat.
I found a similar table from a GM GEN3 engine, and it includes temperatures. It also has high temp correction in this table.
THIS IS GREAT!!!
Many have already touched on the fact that MOST of us pay for our own advancement....which is ok to me....Yes it is awesome when the shop will cover the bill. However, our training and development should start as our responsibility. (imo) Classes, NACE, Diagnostic Network, IATN, etc.
As for the shops that want Diag guys but only give them grunt work....DUHHHHH....SMH....VERY frustrating to have over 7 grand worth of Diag tools and equipment and do grunt work and reset oil lights because the friend of the owner gets fed diag work and stays clean......this is NOTHING new in our industry!!!
Regarless, we must continue to learn!!!!
I have convinced my employer to pay for local training for all the techs in the shop. And he has paid the registration fee for Vision, ATE, and a local ATG class for me this year. I paid all my travel, hotel, and food expenses. Any other training I've done I have paid for out of my pocket.
I hope if we show the importance of good training it will become more abundant. These events aren’t all about the training, it’s also about the networking. It’s great to meet like minds that are willing to help you with an issue.
Chris this is a great discussion topic and I wouldn't expect anything less from you sir. A topic that I only could hope would resonate within the entire industry to include some of my colleagues.
I've been a tech for over 20 years starting in the industry with the passion and a broom in hand.
Most of my career I was a heavy line tech and my day to day was chasing the clock to get paid. Going to class back then was like punishment and seriously would be avoided unless mandatory for reasons I will explain.
One my biggest frustrations I felt was I was either being educated on equipment and/or products that I wouldn't be able to see in my day to day when I would return to work because the employer invested in the class but not the lesson being tought. The use of scopes for example. Not to mention the time spent away from my kids and bride after a long day with nothing to show for it but a hand book only to be useless because it it would be PowerPoint printouts with no detail in the discussion that would arise when the questions would come up as I would try to apply it in my bay.
I too am a hands on learner and my apprentices that I've had the pleasure to train often heard me say you cant learn how to fix it till it's broken.
I would urge them to dissect known bad components and ask the questions why and how. Why did it break and how does it work.
Maybe it was me or maybe it was a shift in the industry or both but 8 years ago I made a choice to change my whole design of how I would go about my career, on the floor and in the class room. I ask myself one simple question, "Would I hire me"? My honest answer was no.
So I started taking my training to the next level. Self study's and signing up for every single class that could be available to me and even paying for some outta pocket. I figured the return would come with plenty if I made my own sacrifices for what I believed would benefit my employers and my customers.
This is when I became a better tech and student because my choice gave me more passion into what we do, I learned to love learning. If that makes sense.
I apologize for going off topic but I just wanted to apply a little bit to explain my perspective.
We have some great instructors and the technology available today has given us some great opportunities to deliver some good information on current day discussions and material.
As I am currently training to become a trainer myself, Chris. I ask myself alot of questions and one is how can I prevent a student, like myself, that would be sponsored for a class but be lacking the follow through by the lack of the equipment availability. I mean should I be more involved in the recruitment process to have a discussion with the employer before the check is written? Asking simple questions like does your shop have a scope available to be used after the training. Is your technicians trained in the use of lab scopes as in a basic knowledge point of being able to apply the lessons being taught? Is the scope available for use during off time or is there time available for the technicians to perform practice settings on good knowns and self training on set ups and captures?
My thoughts on these questions are simply because a lot of modern day diagnostics is knowing not just circuit design but having tools available to see the operating conditions of them. This is just a fraction of this topic.
I had to invest in my own diagnostic gear to become the tech I am today and these investments are challenging with current day wages in the industry, "different discussion". Not one shop I was employed at that would send me to the after hours parts house training would invest in a lab scope. So I was being delivered some really great lessons but wasted time because it never could be used.
So I think on a instructors point it should be a process to be able to not just fill the seats but make absolutely sure we are giving the information that can be applied the next day.
Yes not all things are scope related as we can agree, just using this one as an example.
It would be nice if the instructors had the knowledge of the equipment available for the attendees so that the class can deliver the best it can to more than just a few attending.
Even as I can recall in taking a few good courses but it involved a high level of factory scan tools and these were AFTERMARKET classes, almost seems to add a little humor to it when most aftermarket indy shops use aftermarket scantools. The instructor I can think of in one of these realised his challenge as in the start of the class he asked for a show of hands on the subject of what equipment was available to them as the class was starting. 75% had very little knowledge on the factory equipment and most did not have the equipment available at all. His power points where mainly screen shots of images most of these techs would never see again. I will add that he did a good job knowing this issue and took extra care to deliver what he could with what he had available. As we can agree this challenge should have been navigated by the recruitment process and not just the focus on filling the seats. Knowing our audience is very important so we can make a sure connection in the lesson.
My hat is off to many of you in this discussion as we've gotten to know each other either on social media and or I've personally been one to fill a seat in your class. This discussion as I said in the beginning I could only hope would reach out beyond the ones that are actively involved in one way or another to improve some of our industries challenges. I know really good techs and trainers both, with a wealth of knowledge that just dont get involved with anything that wont add to the wallet. The fruit they have to offer they keep in a basket and it's for sale to the highest bidder. I understand that I do but its frustrating because I know if they gave a little it would result in people coming back for more. Sorry I know this is starting to go off the original post and the questions asked but I only say it because I honestly feel we need a foundation like this DN to continue to grow to a higher level so we can draw in our industries workforce and become a greater and stronger industry than it ever was and not just in correcting it's current day struggles.
Chris you asked several questions and most I've answered in my own way, if my thoughts are clear in print.
I would like to mention that self studys are important, we can all agree on. My thoughts are on this and would like to bring it to discussion here with everyone who is a trainer and even the students. How valuable would it be if by chance I am given an opportunity to become a trainer to not just deliver a course but as well the literature to back it up that can continue to feed the mind after long after the class but as well offer a thumb drive lets say with the class a digital foot print of the course study with possibly a few diagnostic procedures in a video form, as well as maybe key point discussions on said subject? Just a thought as I would only hope it may bring a little more to a lesson. Could it be used as a guideline to the discussion and even refresher as we all can account on the fact that sometimes we dont live the training discussion the next day of work , if not for weeks. Kinda like buying a special tool you know you needed once before and had to borrow and after the purchase it sits in the tool box for years. Lol.
Anyhow, Chris I would like to thank you sir for bringing this topic in for discussion as I'm looking forward to the responses as I ask myself some of these questions as well.
I’m a Tech. When I was at Honda& Acura dealer I went to Torrance CA Training center. IST individualized skills training. In order to go to the training center you must have completed 100% of all your self studies online (interactive network iN). At the training center they give you classroom teaching and hands on training, they bug cars and you have to figure out what the problem is. After you figure out the problem, the instructor signs you off that module and you jump to the next.
Im at Independent shop now and the owner pays for all the training cost. Normally ATG Automotive Training Group, Worldpac training Institute. WDI parts offers training. CALState auto parts offers us free Training Mainly Motorcraft training and AC DELCO training and we can also sign up for AC DELCO dealer training classroom.
I do not know anyone around Orange County CA that offers hands on Automotive training other that the community college and that’s more likely for beginners. There is STI (smog training institute) that I went to many years ago mainly to get my CA smog license training.
I would love someone that offers training on both areas hands on and classroom. For new diagnostic strategies tips,tricks. Pico scope training for beginners and advance level pico scope users
Our shop requires us to have a minimum of 40hrs per yr of training which I’m happy that the owner pushes the rest of the crew to attend training without an option. If there was training once a week I’ll be happy to attend without hesitation. I’m always searching and reading articles online iATN,motorage online, Facebook Autommotive technician groups, YouTube channels, like Scanner Daner, “Trained by Techs“, Weberauto, TST, Newlevel auto, positive lead diagnostics and humble mechanic mainly for AUDI/VW, FTM-Ford tech makuloco mainly for Ford
Luis I like your comment on a hands on and classroom training as I agree both would be extremely valuable combined.
I've attended a few and they where good and I wish I saw more of them. When I was at Kia the instructor did his best to perform a good class with having his oversight committee putting his hands behind his back on trying to accomplish it. So the diagnosis was a little easy. But the point was valuable.
As far as pico training I personally would like to see more available in the classroom as well with hands on strategies and navigation.
There is Autonerds that I'm aware of and they do a great job I'm told but can't speak personally as I haven't invested yet in tha tg direction. I have a pico scope myself but still lm earning myself and not comfortable in bringing it in the field yet because I'm more fluent with my SO gear and with the price of my labor its not far to the customer to be paying for my training if this makes sense so I dont use it often enough.
It also sounds like you landed in a good shop I might add. If a employer is requiring us to perform a certain amount of training they are also willing to back it up.
Not like the first days in my own career.
My question to you, is do you feel the aftermarket independent industry has more to offer with a employer such as your current one vs working at a dealership?
I’m glad that this topic elicited such a response. It means there is passion in this industry. We are not alone in our journey to be better. As far as hands on trainig, hold on. The future is going to be bright.
I am not aware of any hands on in Southern California but there is an operational shop in Concord called Auto Electric and Fuel. They have a classroom off the shop and do classes there. Their shop policy is they fix or it or you don't pay. I have not been over there for a few years but my take is that the classes include some hands on work.
I would be happy to drive over and teach some classes in Orange County. I just need a sponsor shop and some sharp techs to help.
Thank you, let me look into it, if I find a sponsor shop, how much do you charge per class,? Per tech attending? what do you have to offer and how long would the class be?
Lots of factors to consider. I don't have set pricing yet. Best to contact me on email or give me a call. …
Our shop takes Carquest CTI classes. They pay for the time we would have been at work and the fuel to travel there, it’s about 35 miles away. Sad part is the shop pays a fee for everyone from the shop to go, only 2 or 3 go.
I pay for any other training I attend. They did reimburse me after I went to the Aste event our state igo puts on over a weekend. I did enjoy that, but most of the classes were Carquest CTI classes. There a couple acdelco and napa
I attend all the training that I can. Paid by my employer. The company I work for also does a yearly training event that has some, if not all, of the top guys in the industry. They also have carquest cti online training available. I haven't done any of them but I've heard good things. For the younger guys in the business, the classes held by the auto parts stores and such were a big help for me in my early days. Even if they were a sales pitch, I'm not sure I ever walked out of one without learning something new. Which made the free dinner and 4 hrs worth it on a tuesday night.
I would sure like a hands on class. I've never been to one. Would be awesome. The style of atg's books and classes I enjoy. Power points are ok as long as there is enough discussion and are layed out in a way that I can make enough notes so when I reference it later I can remember what I'm looking at.
I go to a fair amount of training (ATG, NAPA, ATA, many others) and I also do some of my own training classes. The biggest issue I have when attending training is a class is billed as "advanced" or "high level", but the instructor gets bogged down with students who have no grasp of the basics of the subject. It seems no one will come to the "beginner" class because they feel they don't need it, when really they do! I was lucky enough to get a 2 year degree in electronics, and it has come in very handy with auto repair, but most of todays techs don't have this level of training. I have had many students come to my scope or advanced electrical classes, and then come back to my basic classes once they find out what they don't know! Another issue is low attendance. I see the same 15-20 core techs at many classes. When I question them about their fellow techs, either they don't want to attend, or the owner won't pay for them to come. Either way, they continue to stay untrained. Not a good thing...
There is so much truth in this sentence you wrote. "It seems no one will come to the "beginner" class because they feel they don't need it, when really they do!"
Title a class "Basic Electricity" and very few select it. Title the class "Advanced Electronics for Automotive Technicians" and you're off to the races.
Effective prerequisites for class would be nice but are difficult to implement.
I am a technician. I’m in the minority as to where my employer is happy to pay all of the expenses required for training. It’s a win win for both of us. They get a qualified efficient employee willing to learn and I get personal satisfaction and a paycheck
I can not provide a time as to when a class changed my outlook on the automotive repair industry. I can provide you with the seminair that made me turn the corner and try my best to become a top notch technician.
It was the first tst Big Event I attended that did it for me. John Thornton was teaching a class that proved to me how little I really did know. His diagnostic skills to me are second to none.
Before attending that Big Evebt I figured I would learn something but I did not plan on learning how little I knew.
That was it I was hooked on training. I needed more. I honestly do not care if my employer rewards me for my increased knowledge. I need to know more!
I diagnose cars. Every trlick or tip I can pick up to save me time and make my diagnosis more accuate benefits me and my employer. The employer that paid for the training deserves to reap some of its benefits also.
That training makes my current position at the company very secure. Not only do they pay for the training they pay me to use it and it makes my job secure. Most of all at the end of the day I enjoy a great amount of personal satisfaction improving my diagnostic skills.
I take almost every class I can get my hands on. Whether it is a one night class, a multiple class Saturday, a large multi day expo or something online I do my best to attend all of them.
If you want to know my most preferred training it is a multiple class expo if it is one day or multiple days. The networking with the other true professionals in this industry is priceless.
I also agree with the others that the people that honestly need basic level classes will more than likely sign up for an advanced level class rather than the basic one.
One of the most disappointing things about the trainig to me is a lack of participation from technicians. There is a poor ratio of techs to techs who take training. It always seems that for the most part it is always the same people at the training. Very few new faces.
I honestly have no idea how to get the techs to attend. Auto repair is a passion of mine. Most of the techs I try to convince to attend training will not go because to them it’s just a job and they get paid whether they go to a class or not. But in the next breath they will complain how come they do not get any of the diagnostic work. The other complaint is that the tech is nearing retirement and does not see any benefit in staying up to date they are just counting the days until the end. That comes around full circle to the technician shortage and the lack of younger people willing to learn. The younger ones are out there they are just not as plentiful as they used to be. Not everyone can be taught to become a mechanic. Many think so but sometimes it is just not possible. Just as there is no way you could teach me to be a brain surgeon it’s just not going to happen
The industry is going to experience a paradigm shift soon. Every one here knows it. The ones with no trainIng are going to be left behind wondering what happened. The days of learning as you go in the shop are long gone. They are not coming back either.
So back to your questions. How to get techs to classes. That has to start inside them with a thirst for knowledge. That can not be taught. It can be nurtured and allowed to grow though by a very good employer that is willing to reward a tech for learning and paying for the training.
If I have one complaint about most of the classes it would be that they are too short. At the beginning of the class you receive a manual that is the size of one of the text books used for a full semester of college. Then the instructor feels obligated to get through the book. The instructor then begins to rush through the material leaving very little time for open discussion or questions.
Just a thought now. What if the class could continue after the seminair. Maybe have it continue in modules online. At the successful completion of the live training and the online modules one would then receive credit for the class.
The other thing that would be nice is if there was one central place all of our completed training was recorded. Maybe someday enough could be accumulated to result in a bachelors or masters degree in automotive engineering or diagnostics.
Maybe the upper class sights such as the DN could require so many credit hours of training before one could become a member. Something to work for. Possibly some of the training could be required before one could take the advanced level ASE certification tests.
None of this can happen unless everyone is on board. Employers,techs,instructors and so on.
I for one would be willing to devote my time and efforts in to this type of a project. But where to start? We have enough problems as it is now getting qualified entry level techs let alone ones who really are passionate about this auto repair industry.
Robert I couldn't agree with you more about everything, in fact, the TST Big Event you are speaking of may have been my first Big Boy class as well. My brain hurt for about a week after. Dave DeCoursey misfire diagnostics in the morning and John Thorton's Audi/VW GDI in the afternoon, sound like the same?
Been addicted to training ever since, that's why a group of us decided to make Super Saturday a much bigger event than it has been in the past. Finally a great event in Philly's backyard and like you said same faces from all over North America but not local techs that could really benefit from it.
Great response Robert, if interested in seeing what Super Saturday is all about it's happening October 13th, all day event with some of the best. Trained by Techs will be there, this year is going to be a special one. For more information check out the site.
Hope to see you there
Signed up for this years Super Saturday as soon as the registration opened. I read so many great reviews about it last year I feel I can’t afford to miss it. Looking forward to it.
It seems these multi class Saturday training events are becoming the most popular form of training.
Looking forward to catching up with you there
Some suggestions for training classes if any of he class curriculum developers are reading this.
I would like to see some non technical classes. A class for Automotive Math and it’s practical uses. Measuring speed of an object. Determining size of objects such as cylinders. Finding the volume of a cylinder so it can be determined how much air would be required to fully fill that cylinder. Determining the velocity of the air filling that cylinder . The effects of the density and temperature of the air that is entering that cylinder
Electrical fundamental math. How to determine resistance and current flow in circuits. How much voltage is required to properly operate the components in a given circuit. The effects of surface area and the type of different conductors In the circuits and their ability to deliver the proper amount of voltage and current to the load and control devices in the circuits
Some automotive chemist classes. Exactly how do the gasses in a spark ignited compresssed cylinder change compounds from hc and o2 to co2 nox hc and o2 Then how do the emission devices convert those elements to a safe amount of o2,co2 n and h2o.
Proper grammer and effective communication skills. As a diagnostician I am required to write a easily understandable cohesive description of my testing and recommendations in a manner that can be easily understood and translated by a non technical service writer. That information alllows the service writer to properly explain the value of my testing and recommendations to the client so the client will find the value in my testing and recommendations which would result in their willingness to pay for those skills.
These may seem like basic skills to some, but for me personally I have not had any of this type of training since college a LONG time ago. At that time in college I did not realize how important some of these skills would be for my personal career advancement. It would also benefit the whole industry if all of the technicians possessed some of these skills. Again some of these classes should result in some sort of credit hours in working towards becoming a certified diagnostician.
I know a few curriculum developers are on here and I hope they read your post! Great ideas! Understand the absolute basic math, chemistry and physics required for an automobile to operate and have a proper grasp of the written and verbal skills required to convey that professionally to the customer. Its not too basic, it’s exactly what the industry needs!!