As technology advances in the auto recycling industry, skilled workers are what is required to keep up. Guy Tiberio, Associate Professor of Automotive Technology at Waubonsee Community College in the US, tells us about the auto recycling course his college provides and what you can do to find your next dismantling technician.
While I am not directly involved in the recycling side of the automotive industry, I know that you are plagued by the same problems the rest of the automotive industry is experiencing: Many workers nearing retirement, a large skills gap due to the quickly increasing complexity of modern vehicles, and not enough trained technicians to meet the volume of vehicles coming into your yards.
Yes, I said technicians…why do I use that word? Because the word technician gives a better description of the knowledge and skillset one must possess to work on modern vehicles. Long gone are the days of someone tinkering with their car in the garage and instantly having a career. The amount of knowledge required to work with these vehicles properly and in a safe and responsible manner is something deserving of a title that shows you have risen above the norm.
So, I will ask, where are your next dismantling technicians coming from? The old methods of finding technicians by ads in the newspaper or hanging a “now hiring” sign on the front of your building are not going to get a lot of attention, much less by people that possess the advanced skill set that we need in today’s service bays and recycling yards.
Have you checked your local community college or trade school? Most likely not, and why would you? Those schools only teach future technicians how to work on new vehicles, right? Well, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Like all other automotive instructors, I spend my day teaching students how vehicles work and how to fix them. We do this to keep the industry moving, but on a more personal level, to show our students how to find a career path that is rewarding to them that can provide them with the lifestyle they wish to live.
My students, just like most students that want to go into the automotive industry, only know what is out there based on their own experience…they only know what they know. My job is to show them the vast possibilities of where this knowledge and skillset can be put to great use.
I know that not every student will be great at electrical diagnosis or great at rebuilding automatic transmissions, so we provide them with exposure to many different areas of the industry and let them see where they excel or what they enjoy doing. We try to give them many opportunities to find a career path that falls under the automotive umbrella, and we could not have done that without support from the local automotive industry around us.
Our program has the basic core automotive classes that many career and technical schools have. Every technician needs to know about brakes, suspensions, engines, transmissions, and all the other basic systems required to prepare them to be able to fix most cars. But we don’t stop there. We also add specialized classes into our program that expose students to other areas of the automotive industry. These classes include hybrid and electric vehicles, light-duty diesel, classic cars and technologies, service advising and management, parts specialist, and automotive recycling.
In the recycling class, students learn about the need for automotive recycling, how the recycling business works, the environmental aspects of recycling a vehicle, how to grade and inventory parts from dismantled vehicles, and how to dismantle safely and in a clean and professional manner. Students also learn safety and proper procedures for dismantling hybrid and electric vehicles as these vehicles are starting to become more popular on the road and likely already coming into your yards.
In the lab portion of this class, our students dismantle a car that our partnering recycling yard sends us. They grade and tag each part, and then we send it all back to the yard for them to sell the parts. Real-world experience for the students, free dismantling and grading for the yard… Everyone wins!
Now I will let you in on a little secret…automotive programs all around the world are trying to do the same thing I am trying to do; find proper career placement for our students that will help them live a life they love and help all areas of the industry continue to progress.
So how can you capitalize on knowing this secret? Reach out to your local community college or trade school and get involved. Join their advisory board, talk to the instructors and administrators, find a way to insert your business into their program.
You will be amazed at the number of opportunities you will find to hire quality technicians for almost no investment aside from a couple of hours interacting with the local automotive community.
Take it a step further, and work with the instructors to develop a class specifically aimed at automotive recycling. The instructors know about the operation of the vehicle and how to teach, but they may not know much about the recycling side of the industry. Show off the knowledge you have gained through the years.
Every technician, regardless of where they are employed, will have some connection to the recycling field; so why not put your best foot forward and give them a grand entrance into your yard? Let the school train them, so they are ready to start working on day one when you hire them. You will be surprised at the exponential payoff you will see in the future of dismantling technicians.
View below the presentation by Waubonsee Community College entitled ‘Going Green With Automotive Recycling’
If you would like to contact Guy, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, alternatively, please visit www.waubonsee.edu