How To Build An Apprenticeship Program

Apprenticeship programs may be the best method of solving the shortage of qualified technicians in a dealership.

Training to become master technicians is a long process (most likely it will take at least four years) and can be expensive.

However, those individuals who become engaged in this type of training tend to be more loyal to their employers by more than four times those hired from competitors.

Let's look at the the basics in developing this type of training.

  • On-The-Job-Training (OJT)
  • Classroom Training
  • Mentoring Program
  • Evaluating the individual’s progress

On-The-Job Training

On the job training requires that Service Management fully supports the concept of developing trainees to become Master Technicians.

It also requires that senior management in the dealership is fully committed to the cost and resources needed to develop an this type of training.

Classroom Training (the basics)

Again, Service Management must be committed to:

  • Making a facility available for training classrooms
  • Trainers qualified to provide classroom instruction.
  • Instruction Manuals
  • Components (engines, transmissions, hydraulic components, electrical components, structural components, etc.)
  • Test materials to measure the progress of trainees

Mentoring Program

One of the fastest and most comprehensive methods of training an apprentice is through a “mentoring program”.

This requires a “master technician” who is willing and capable to take a Trainee “under-their-wing”.

The master technician must have guidelines on what training is required and procedures to help the trainee to progress.

This is a typical set of guidelines and procedures.

It normally begins with the trainee “job-shadowing” the master technician for several weeks and then gradually becoming involved with the troubleshooting and diagnosing the repairs to be completed.

The best guidelines include a “systems-approach”.

So what do I mean by systems approach? Let's look at the systems in a piece of equipment.

  • Working on all “power-train” components (engines, transmissions, torque-convertors, differentials, final-drives)
  • Working on “hydraulic systems and components”
  • Working on electrical harnesses, electric controls
  • Working on the operator’s compartment (cabs, air conditioning, gauges, instruments, controls, etc.)
  • Working on fuel systems
  • Working on structural members (frames, bodies, fuel tanks, buckets, attachments, etc.)

Evaluating The Trainee’s progress

Testing in the classroom and on-the-job at specific time intervals will provide an indication of how well a trainee is progressing.

These types of tests must be based on the standards you set in your dealership.

You can download a copy of an Apprentice Program I have used in the past called the “Step-Grade-System” by clicking here.

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