Every meeting I go to, whether it’s collision or mechanical repair, the big topic everyone is talking about is the technician shortage.
The conversation goes like this: Kids today don’t want to work. Well, I have a news flash for all of us. The kids don’t want to work in our industry. And by the way, it’s not just our industry – it includes all the skilled trades. And that makes matters even worse. We have to compete against all the other trades to get our fair share of the young people out there who are willing to consider us.
So let’s play the blame game for a minute. Whose fault is it? First of all, we could blame the kids themselves. They’re lazy and only care about their cell phones. Maybe, but if we’re going to get them to work, we better figure out how to get them to come play.
So let’s blame the vo-tech guidance counselors. They’re only sending us the bad kids. They can only provide guidance, and those are the only kids who are willing to go vo-tech.
So I think it’s time we look in the mirror. We all have kids. Do we have them working in the shop? Probably not. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I am not bringing my kids into this business.” Well, if it’s not good enough for our kids, why would it be good enough for someone else’s children? We need to realize that there is a certain amount of responsibility here for our own future, and we need to own it.
How? Well, start with adjusting your own view. There are plenty of shops out there making a good living. It can be done. The only obstacle is probably us. Go look at page 57. That’s a way to get involved. Decide what your organization can afford to pledge and call Brandon. The Collision Repair Education Foundation is an organization solely focused on getting personnel trained in our business. I’ll let you read the details on page 57, but suffice it to say, the students who receive the uniforms will not forget who sponsored them.
This problem is not going to vanish overnight, and no one single action will be credited with correcting it. It will be a series of efforts by all of us and over time.
We can fix this.