John Yoswick

John YoswickJohn Yoswick is a freelance automotive writer based in Portland, Oregon, who has been writing about the collision industry since 1988. He is the editor of the weekly CRASH Network (for a free 4-week trial subscription, visit www.CrashNetwork.com).

He can be contacted at john@crashnetwork.com 

Wednesday, 11 August 2021 08:54

Schools Could Focus on Teaching Fewer Auto Body Skills More Thoroughly

Written by


Share This:


Attendees at this summer’s Collision Industry Conference (CIC) ranked finding new employees with entry-level collision repair skills as auto body shops’ biggest hurdle, when compared to training or retaining new employees, or finding new employees without entry-level skills, and the CIC Talent Pool and Education Committee is suggesting one potential way to address the issue.

“We don’t have enough new technicians coming into the industry, and the question is: are we maybe setting the bar too high,” said committee member Kurt Lammon of Polyvance. “Are we expecting an Olympian [athlete], when the high school runner-up will do?”


Lammon said NATEF and other accreditation programs often list dozens or even hundreds of skills schools are expected to cover in their collision repair curriculums. But many shops say just five basic skills---dent repair, paint prep, detailing, plastic repair and the ability to remove and replace bolted-on parts---would be enough to make an entry-level employee productive within a shop from day one.


Bud Center, chairman of the committee, said the committee isn’t suggesting schools teach only those five skills, but “to have a more intense focus on that so [students] have the knowledge and skills to come out and be productive when they hit the shop floor.”


Lammon said Caliber Collision uses a “Changing Lanes” program to recruit and quickly retrain those leaving the military for entry-level jobs in collision repair by focusing on “those five skills, plus a couple more, but not too much more.”


The committee is in the early stages of creating a summary---some of its preliminary work is housed for now on the Polyvance website---that lists the various “learning outcomes” needed for each of the five basic skills, as well as potential sources for training for those specific skills.


CIC Chairman Darrell Amberson asked the committee how the five skills concept could be presented “to a college or student so you don’t discourage those that are interested in seeking that higher level?”


Center said that’s something the committee discussed.


“If you tell a kid, ‘You’re going to learn five skills,’ they’re going to have a hard time recruiting kids into the program,” he said. “So we still have to keep the other knowledge and skills in the curriculum. It’s just that there will be a much heavier focus on these five skills.”

The committee first addressed the topic of...

Previous Page Continue reading »