BMW April 2022

Skills are critical within the automotive refinishing trade. As tooling and vehicle technology continues to gather pace and repairs become even more advanced, businesses understand the importance of training to upskill their workforce.

As a result, shops are investing in their technicians – whatever the level, from apprentices all the way through to more experienced technicians – to develop the requisite skills and knowledge that will help them meet the constantly changing demands of the jobs that come through the door, as well as the hope that doing so will open up their businesses to other avenues of work.

This evolution is not going to stop anytime soon, so training programmes must be fluid to meet the needs of the industry. According to Steve Smith, national sales manager for ART at Mirka UK, “this is where training programmes like the ones Mirka offer are of considerable value to the industry.”

“We see our training as offering a full circle opportunity for the customer because once a full evaluation has been carried out, an action plan is agreed and implemented, and all training is subsequently documented and followed up with regular review meetings to monitor each individual’s progress,” Smith said.  Customised programmes should be created for customers based on their needs and requirements. It also ensures the business can reap the benefits of the training in the short, medium and long-term.”

In addition to the standard training accredited technical teams offer, it also trains apprentices. This is done to ensure aspiring technicians have access to the knowledge and skills that will aid in their growth and the development of our industry.

By offering a training scheme that is something entirely new and stands out from the crowd. Train the Trainer, programmes have been designed to offer body shops one-to-one training so they can go on to train new starters themselves on how to use specific tools and processes, as well as giving them the ability to perform refresher training and courses for any staff that needs it.

When it comes to the location of training it’s important to choose a place where the technicians feel comfortable. 

The training centre, however, is left in the hands of the customer to decide where it takes place.

For on-site training the customer will have the familiarity of their usual surroundings which enables experienced technicians to highlight how products or processes would work in an environment they are familiar with. When training is conducted at a training centre, participants can take part in e-learning and classroom-based learning in advance of the course, before having their hands-on experience with the relevant tools, abrasives, and solutions.

“When attending the training centres the technical team has noticed that attendees ask a lot more questions,” Smith said. “What needs to be remembered is that training is here to stay as it is a key bridge to reduce the skills gap, but businesses should be looking at ways to keep that training as simple as possible. Our recommendation is to choose the right programmes for them and their employees rather than following what the majority might do.”