Everyone understands that the collision repair workforce is aging and shops are constantly looking for “qualified” techs. This becomes even more critical with rapidly changing vehicles and technology, and a new emphasis on OE repair standards that demands newer, knowledge-based skill sets. Attracting new technicians to the collision repair industry–and retaining them–has been a concern for decades. It is a challenge that few shops can manage. It requires the right candidate, structured training, and a capable mentor who is willing to help a new technician gain the experience needed to become productive. There is no short-term solution, but only a long-term sustainable process that is able to attract, train, and groom new talent for the industry. This month, we will discuss the basics of establishing a mentoring program for new technicians including the characteristics needed from a good mentor, the qualifications of an “apprentice” candidate, the need for progressive skill levels, tools, pay plans, and finally, accountability between shop management, the mentor, and the apprentices.

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