For shops interested in recruiting and developing young talent for automotive and tire service technicians, apprentice programs can be an excellent tool. Apprenticeship is not designed to create a job; it is intended to foster a young person’s career.
Apprenticeship is often full-time employment where the individuals earn while they learn. Usually that combines on-the-job training on the shop floor and related classroom instruction. Apprentices take classes at a partner vocational school, technical institute or community college where they learn the theory of their trade, while an experienced and skilled technician mentor at work shows them the hands-on practical skills while on the shop floor.
Apprentice programs can take different forms. Some are simple partnerships with local high schools and community colleges. Those are best initiated by the owner of the shop getting in touch with the head of the school’s automotive service education department and developing a partnership.
The school identifies top talent and those individuals are provided with advanced opportunities and a clear career path through the apprenticeship tract.
Other apprenticeship programs officially are registered with their state, complete with local apprenticeship training committees by industry as approved by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship. The committee sponsors and develops instructor standards for the apprenticeship program and may interview apprentices for the program.
An alternative to college, a solid apprenticeship program teaches skills and standards, combining academic and practical aspects of an occupation. This often includes an outlined training plan that helps the prospective technicians understand what will be expected from them, what they will be required to learn and what they should be able to do once they have completed the program.
They will work with other technicians and mentors to give them hands-on experience and advice to help them in the learning process.
A quality apprentice program combines supervised, structured, on-the-job training and related technical instruction to teach apprentices the skills necessary to succeed in the automotive repair industry.
While starting and managing an apprentice program can be more work for a shop, trade group or association to get started, the result is access to a stronger pool of qualified young technicians who are well prepared to do the work as they grow into the business.