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Previewing AAPEX’s Road to Great Technicians

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August 1, 2018—The Service Professionals General Session at AAPEX 2018 will tackle one of the industry’s most important issues: building rewarding careers for automotive technicians and ensuring they have the skills to repair vehicles equipped with new technology.

Last week, AAPEX announced that the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF), will be leading the general session,  Automotive Career Pathways: The Road to Great Technicians. The session will help identify career paths for current and future technicians and how students, parents, instructors and shop owners all play a role in career development.

Chris Chesney, senior director of training at Carquest Technical Institute, is one of the panelists on this session. He spoke with Ratchet+Wrench to give readers a small preview of what attendees can expect.

One of the major topics of the discussion will be how to reconfigure education for technicians and provide an updated curriculum to prepare them for the industry’s technological shift.

“We’re counting on the same amount of time and same type of education methodology that we’ve used for the last 50 years to prepare them for technology that hasn’t stood still,” Chesney said.

Chesney said the Road to Great Technicians, which has been covered in previous Ratchet+Wrench articles, is focusing on how to move the industry towards competency based education at a rate students can absorb at their own pace, rather than a one-size-fits-all mentality with two years of post-secondary education.

With this, Chesney and his guests will discuss how shop owners can get involved and committed to this effort. They can get involved in NASTF, he said, or they can join a local vocational school’s advisory council, to offer advice on how to form that curriculum.

“They need to be involved by helping that instructor, understanding the system and offering internships,” Chesney said. “It’s the industry’s problem, not the vocational school’s fault.”

Retention of technicians will also be a major talking point in the session, Chesney said. Shop owners need to define and illustrate to people either considering the industry or already in the industry the opportunities that are available outside of what they’re doing today. This may mean giving technicians a good idea of how they can move up in the shop, anywhere from a service advisor role to potential ownership down the line.

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