Tasks Techs Can Expect
Those who responded to the 2016 survey were asked about the specific tasks they would expect a graduate of a technical school program to be able to perform with little supervision. The top four tasks included prep for paint, R&R bolted parts, repair steel metal dents and final detailing. The least expected skill was repair electrical systems. Some of the new tasks mentioned were: perform diagnostic scan, repair aluminum dents and aluminum welding.
“As vehicles become more technologically advanced, the training and experience required to work on them will only exacerbate the existing skills gap,” said Minehart. “Well-trained body techs will benefit from this situation in terms of both earning potential and job security.”
Minehart said entry-level body techs at Gerber focus on becoming proficient by working on smaller jobs like bumper repairs. They eventually build skills to perform plastic repair (both two-art and plastic welding), assist with tear downs and R&I and small filler work.
“At Gerber, we are very focused on hiring entry-level body techs with the ‘soft skills’ required to be successful,” he said. Ideally, he said entry-level techs will be able to meet I-CAR’s Pro Level One requirements when they start their careers.
“Having the right attitude and mindset is so important to use that we require all our apprentice candidates to go through a 30-day working interview at one of our locations so we can ensure they have the ability to follow instruction, show up to work on time and work independently,” said Minehart.
Survey results showed that 68 percent of technicians have participated in I-CAR training over the last two years and 36 percent said they have undergone some OEM training as well.
“While some in the industry are running away from the technical tsunami, those who run into it have everything to gain,” said Sobczak. “Our industry doesn’t have a choice on these changes so those willing to be proactive in their education across the board, especially I-CAR training, will reap great rewards.”
Some companies across the United States, such as Service King, offer apprentice programs for new repair technicians entering the field. Not only does this help develop their skills, but Soto said it also provides a support system and promotes the industry.