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Training a New Technican With A Twist

Published on January 7, 2014 under Humble Mechanic

Hi everyone! I mentioned yesterday that I have a new tech that I am training. Today I want to tell you guys about him.

In years past, we would hire rookie techs from the Volkswagen program with Universal Technical Institute. The best part about guys from the VW program was they were trained by VW. They knew the cars, the scan tool and the repair manual. The VW program with UTI was cancelled years ago. Up until the last year that was no issue for my dealer. We have not needed to hire any techs. But with recent turnover we needed to find some new guys.

When hiring a new mechanic, shops have a few options, each have pros and cons

  • Hiring an experienced tech
    Hiring a tech with experience is great. Especially when they already know the car line. They should have the skills, the tools and the knowledge to step right in.  The down side, they have the potential to bring drama in the shop. I have seen a lot of experienced techs come in to the shop and do great. I have also seen them bring crazy problems.
  • Hire a rookie
    You might think that hiring a rookie with no tools, little knowledge and no experience would be suicide. But bring someone who is fresh can be a great fit. They are hungry, moldable, and do not have the baggage.

    Green Snapon Tool box

    This is the new guy’s GREEN tool box

Okay, on to my new guy. This kid is fantastic. He just finished up at UTI in November. While there he worked at a BMW and Benz shop. The kid is sharp as a razor. We are about 3 weeks in to the training, and he is where other guys were after a year.

There are a lot of things that set him apart from the other techs I have trained. HE IS DEAF! That is right, my new tech is hearing impaired. Now, your first thought is probably exactly what mine was. How can a mechanic do their job, without hearing? The truth is, there will be limitation that he will have. Just like we all do.

Communication This is actually going better than I thought. We have been communicating by typing back and forth in wordpad. We have also been hand writing some. Only downside is, we both have really crappy handwriting. The cool part is, he is teaching me sign language. I never seen myself learning sign language as part of my job as an automotive technician. Sure it has been different. But I have to say, I am excited. Our deal is, I teach him to fix cars, he teaches me ASL. I think I have an easier challenge than he does 😉

I am looking forward to keeping you all updated on my new guy. Plus he has a sweet bright green tool box. If you have any questions about the new guy, feel free to ask. I will tell you all one thing, if you have sometime stupid to say about him being deaf, don’t bother. Not only will I not approve the comment, I will also ban you from the blog. This kid has worked his ass off to be where he is. I respect the hell out of him. He is going to be one heck of a tech.

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16 Comments

  1. Gayle Hermanson

    That is absolutely awesome, thank you for giving this special tech such a welcome to the automotive business. Communication can be such a difficult area. He will definitely be a huge asset to the business also. We have some deaf customers and it’s very frustrating for all of us to try to communicate their repair needs. It’s always refreshing to hear that there are still young people that are motivated in learning and teaching!

    1. Charles

      I like to think so Pat! Plus it’s cool that he can feel vibrations way better than I can.

      We were test driving a car with cupped tires. He picked up the vibration pretty quick… Oh, that was his FIRST DAY! So excited for this kid.

  2. Kevin

    It definitely would make me work harder. The kid has prob had a bunch of obsticals in his life but you can’t let it get you down or use it as a excuse. We all have em. Some more than others. When people say you can’t, use it as motivation and show them you can!!!! Good job humble. Keep it up.

  3. Seth

    Just finished reading all the back posts in your blog!

    Excited to see what 2014 brings and hear more about the new tech! I am trying to learn what I can about automotive maintenance and repair so I can one day complete some kind of a project car.

    Keep on bloggin!

    1. Charles

      UTI can be a mixed bag. It costs a lot, but I made it worth it. I think about 20% of the folks that go make it worth it. There are also a TON of morons that waste time and money there.

      Just like most things, its what you make of it.

      1. Adam

        Considering that a lot of community colleges have auto tech programs which provide similar training for 1/3 to 1/4 the cost of UTI, I have a hard time understanding the advantage. A lot of colleges have manufacturer specific program too but it varies depending on where you live.

  4. Mike

    I understand that hiring an experienced tech is essential, but in my opinion a rookie would be more beneficial, characteristics such as willingness of knowledge, experience, prospects are super powerful.

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