Overcoming deep-rooted biases of the trades

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September 8, 2023 by Adam Malik

Overcoming deep-rooted biases of the trades​

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Image credit: Depositphotos.com
Gino Amador doesn’t appear to be a fan of The Game of Life. The president of Snap-on Equipment’s sticking point is when the player decides early in the game if they’re going to take the route of university or vocational education. Choosing the former pays you more than the latter.

“And we’ve been teaching our children for generations now that the path to success was going to be university,” he said at this year’s MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers Vision Conference. “We’ve been telling our children that university was the path and for some sort of life that had worth.”

He pointed to a common scenario to highlight the value and importance of a tradesperson, be it automotive or any other: Never has anyone late at night been in desperate need to get a political scientist or historian on the phone.

“At 9:15 on a Thursday night, what you want to get on the phone is somebody that either has trauma skills, somebody that has a coronary skill or somebody that has the mechanical parts,” he said during the session, Supplier Pain Points: A CEO Panel.

He leaned forward in his chair on the stage and impressed upon the audience to back up the trades and push forward the fact that there’s a fulfilling and lucrative career in the trades, especially automotive.

“If the people in this room do not champion the worth of the makers and the fixers, the people that actually keep our economy going, we are going to be actually in trouble,” he said. “That’s a pain point. It’s getting people to want to turn a wrench; getting people to want to be technicians. That’s my pain point.”

Sheri Hamilton, executive director of the Midwest Auto Care Alliance, called the need to bring in techs a “pending crisis” during the same conference.

“Sourcing technicians, the next generation of technicians, there is a pending crisis looking for that next generation. And they’re no longer coming,” she said during the session New Technologies: The future of the repair shop and how suppliers must adapt.

What once was a natural progression of technicians through schools or having worked with their parents side-by-side in the garage at home and developing a passion is no longer there. Other interests and passions have taken over.

“And so we are now dealing with trying to help create an apprenticeship program, trying to address the challenges of how we can bring a workforce, Number 1, and a brighter workforce that can handle today’s technology and tomorrow’s technology,” Hamilton said.
 
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