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OEMs: Body technician training annually severely below what is needed

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 - 06:00
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PITTSBURGH — The average technician is receiving roughly 11 hours of training per year, almost two full work weeks less than what they should be.

At the Collision Industry Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa., April 19-20, the Education & Training Committee presented findings from recent surveys that outline a major training deficit in the collision repair industry.

“Our industry has a training issue,” said Jeff Peevy, president of the Automotive Management Institute and committee member. The point of the presentation was to share technician and OEM input on training received versus that needed, and show the large difference between the two numbers.

According to the committee’s survey, which continues to still be administered to collision technicians, the average body technician receives 11.7 hours of training annually. The most common reasons more training is not pursued is because the shop owner won’t pay for training, or training is not available in that shop’s area.

Domestic, European and Asian OEMs were also interviewed to give their perspective on the training necessary to keep up to speed on current vehicles.

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According to domestic OEMs, the average steel structural technician needs 27.5 hours of training annually — per brand. European OEMs said these technicians needed 76 hours per year per brand; and the Asian OEMs said 20 hours of training per brand is needed annually.

The OEMs varied in which methods of training they found most effective, with domestic OEMs selecting online courses; European OEMs choosing hands-on courses; and Asian OEMs says classroom training is best.

Peevy gave an example of a potential training gap that may exist with this example:

The reality is that the 11.7 hour average annually for body techs most likely represents the top one-third of the industry, Peevy said. The bottom third is closer to two hours annually per year.

Peevy stressed the importance of continuing the conversation on training to take steps forward to correct the difference.

One way to move the needle forward is to attend NACE Automechanika 2017 in Chicago. Collision training courses — many from AMi instructors — covering a myriad of management and technical topics will be presented, along with a special education track from I-CAR. Sign up for NACE Automechanika today by clicking here!

Technicians are encouraged to continue taking the CIC Education & Training Committee survey at https://wwwsurveymonkey.com/r/bodyshopsurveys or in Spanish at https://es.surveymonkey.com/r/5sl7rvb

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