Q: What do you think shops can do to help address this problem?
A: To help address this growing issue, I believe we need to begin offering students between 16--18 years old apprenticeships in a certified collision repair program in the shops.
We also need to find out more about shopkeeper insurance offered to cover workers of a certain age.
In my opinion, for those shops looking for technicians, owners may be able to begin taking the vocational tech students who are trained and available and put them to work as apprentices or interns. While these automotive students are still in high school, employers are competing with fast food restaurants, grocery stores and retail stores.
Apprenticeship pay would be much more competitive with this type of employer than it will be once my students graduate and the competition in my area becomes manufacturing positions. It's no wonder we are losing technicians every day.
If we are able to find work for these students who have an interest in the collision repair industry, they are going to gain experience and most likely come to work full-time when they graduate.
I love what I do, and I love to see my students be successful. Unfortunately, until I can get students working, my failures seem to be passed on to my students. I will continue to search for a program where I can put my high school students to work through the summer, after school or through work study.
Autobody News wants to know: Is this happening in your area of the country? Do you know of any shops that can hire students who are under 18 years old, and if yes, is there workplace insurance available in the event of something happening to an underage worker?
Together, we can work to solve this problem with your feedback. Please contact Autobody News columnist Stacey Phillips at email@example.com.