CB - Collision Repair Training & News

Friday, January 25, 2008

Pictures Are Worth A Thousand Words

Sema 2007 At Las Vegas

Take a look at students learning how to perform collision repair.

Starbird 2008 Car Show Wichita, Kansas

Monday, January 21, 2008

Are Academic Skill Needed for a Technical Career?

While four-year college degrees are not designed for every student this does not lessen the significance of academic skills. Even though technical education provides a career path for students that may not be scholars or seeking a four year college degree, this does not exempt the academic skills required of them to properly and safely perform a technical career.

In order to get a job the applicant must know how to properly type a resume, fill out an application, properly communicate with interviewer, and the ability to read and comprehend the description and requirements of the job. Once employed, he or she will need to use basic academic skills in almost any job situation. At a body shop in a dealership, for example, the manager is going to hand the employee a work order and expect the employee to take the information and repair the vehicle. The supervisor is not going to instruct the employee step by step what to do like a teacher may do for a student. The employee will be expected to read and comprehend the work order and repair manuals; use critical skills to analyze the damage and determine a repair method and process; use math skills to calculate, to measure, align unibody structural components, and to understand estimating procedures and times. The employee will need good communication skills to communicate with co-workers, supervisors, and customers. Miscommunication is one of the biggest problems in the work place today. It is also important for the employees to have the right attitude and values. The best skilled employee can find them self unemployed if they do not know how to control their temper or if they are caught stealing. Which employee would you rather hire and work with? One that lacks some technical expertise, but understands the basics, has a good attitude, good values, team player, and is willing to learn the skills needed to become successful; or a seasoned employee with the skills of "Chip Foose" (if anyone watches Overhaulin), but is hard to work with, always complaining he's being cheated, can't get along with other co-workers causing a high employee turn over rate, hateful to customers, and makes you feel uncomfortable because you feel like he is always looking for ways to cheat or steal from the company? Would the high skill level be worth the headaches and risk?

According to Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) report, to survive in today's work place an employee must have the foundation and work place skills. These skills include:

•Basic Skills - writing, arithmetic, mathematics, speaking, and listening.
•Thinking Skills - ability to learn, reasoning, thinking creatively, make decisions and solve problems.
•Personal Qualities - individual responsibilities, self-esteem and self-management, sociability, and integrity.
•Resources - know how to allocate time, money, materials, space, and staff.
•Interpersonal Skills - works on teams, teach others to serve customers, lead negotiate, and work well with people from culture different backgrounds.
•Information - acquires and evaluates data, organize and maintain files, interpret and communicate, and use computers to process information.
•Systems - understand social, organizational, and technological systems, monitor and correct performance, and design and improve systems.
•Technology - select equipment and tools, apply technology to specific tasks, maintain and troubleshoot equipment.

Teaching students only technical skills is setting them up for failure in today's society. We need to teach students the basic academics needed, technical skills required, attitudes, values and work ethic expected by employers to ensure we provide successful employable employees in the future.

Technical education does not require all honor students. The ideal students need to have basic academics skills, safety conscious, interest in the program to motivate them to learn, willingness to complete assigned tasks, and a good attitude.

I invite you to team-up with us to produce champions of the collision industry. To support the collision industry and join our network visit www.learnautobody.com From there you can click on the Automotive Blog Network to join. It's easy and it's free. We just ask for your expertize. Let's TEAM-UP and work together.

TEAM: Together Everyone Accomplishes More

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fast Paced Change in Technology

Only one thing is certain in technical education. That absolute certainty is change. If career and technical education institutions are going to prepare students for tomorrow's jobs, they must adapt and change with the fast pace of technology.

The old method of learning a trade from the "old school" or traditional ways will leave tomorrow's employees behind. For many years a lot of trades could be copied and repeated over and over. For example, in auto body repair, the same methods were used for years to straighten damaged metal back to its original shape. Then lacquer paint consisting of only a few basic colors, were used to paint the vehicle back to its original color. While some of the old techniques are still very effective, the industry has made major changes. Plastic body fillers were introduced to take the place of lead filler; MIG welders took the place of oxyacetylene welding and brazing, enamel replace lacquer paints, and urethane replace enamel paints. These are slight changes that could simply be called improved methods. However, in the last 15 to 20 years we have plastic parts, aluminum parts, unibody construction in addition to full frame vehicles, computerized cars with sensors requiring the technician to be more knowledgeable about electrical systems, air bags, base coat clear coat finishes, three stage factory finishes, hybrid cars. And now, they even have cars that will tell you where to turn or if your lost, and even parallel park for you. This requires much more knowledge, skills and the ability to comprehend all the different repair methods to properly repair the vehicle to pre-accidental condition. It’s easy to figure out that a hammer and dolly are not going to fix all the repairs needed these days. Who knows what the body repair business will look like in twenty years from now. It’s clear the "just like learning how to ride a bike" concept will not work for current and future technical education institutions. If you step out of the industry for a long period of time, you're not going to be able to jump back in and continue where you left off. How busy would a carburetor specialist be in a dealership; or how effective would an executive assistant be using only a typewriter in today’s working world?

The future is calling for more diversified technicians than ever before. If we are going to prepare students for a technical career we must teach them the many skills required, but more importantly we must teach them how to learn to learn, because the fast paced changes are a never ending process.

Donnie Smith

Friday, January 11, 2008

Attention Auto Collision Repair Instructors

We're looking for a few auto body instructors to team-up with to collaborate and share ideas with.

As you know, academics at the secondary level are on the rise, resulting in less technical education programs, like ours, being offered. With less exposure of these type of programs is causing less students going into these types of careers.

Let's look at what results can be when we decide to work together. For thousands of years everyone did everything the same way. Basically, they provided for their own families. The results were pretty predictable. I guess with the exception of the weather. However, when people decided to team-up and work together, a revolution occurred. We've advanced more in the last 100 years, than we had from the beginning of time. Now, technology is changing daily.

My proposal is to team-up so we can come up with new proactive ways to present and attract potential students to this trade to. The collision industry is hurting for qualified technicians to work on these high-tech modern day vehicles. There are a lot of good programs to train them. We just need to get more students to train.

I invite you to team-up with us to create a revolution of teaching this trade to students. To support the collision industry and join our network visit www.LearnAutoBody.com From there you can click on the Automotive Blog Network to join. It's easy and it's free. We just ask for your expertize. Let's TEAM-UP and work together.

TEAM: Together Everyone Accomplishes More

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Challenge

This blog is named "Challenges Produce Champions." Let me back-up a little bit and tell you how I came up with that title.

Being an instructor in the collision repair industry, I starting to see a trend of less quality students enrolling in collision repair. High schools are requiring more academic credits to graduate. This leave less opportunities for elective programs, resulting in less technical education programs being offered in the secondary level. This leaves less students exposed to programs like collision repair.

At the same time, I was receiving students that did not want to be in the program. I believe technical education should be available for non-college bound students, but I don't think it should be a holding place for the students that the school don't know what to do with. It's definitely a challenge to provide a successful program with a class full of students that don't want to be there.

I then thought of the challenges I faced, which were less student enrollment and less quality students. This is what gave me the "Challenges Produce Champions" mindset. With that said, I wrote a "The Challenge," which was a challenge for the students enrolling in my program. My intentions were to attract more quality students.

This was aimed for students, but everyone can take the challenge daily by applying these ideas to your lives.

The Challenge

The challenge is not to just enroll into one of the exciting automotive or collision repair technology programs, which offer a rewarding, lucrative and challenging career, but to enroll with the intentions of learning and applying what you learn to become a "top performer" in the automotive industry. I read a quote by Laurence J. Peter that makes a lot of sense to me. "Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than going to the garage makes you a car." The same stands true for education. Simply knowing how to do something is useless, if you’re not willing to use what you know to do it. Another example I heard from David Dykes in Texas is like looking at a road map. You can look, read and study a map all day or even all year on how to travel from here to Texas. You may discover all the alternate routes you could travel, but unless you get into your car and drive there, you are still here in Kansas. Just knowing the information will not get you there, just like reading the Atkins Diet book will not make you loose weight. You must apply what you learn to reap the benefits.

The challenge is to enroll in this class, have an interest in automotive or collision repair technology, have good attendance, have a good attitude, be a team player, and be willing to learn and apply what you learn in order to become the champion of your trade. You may be saying "Yea right!" Well, if that’s your attitude that is what will always separate you from the doers, leaders and champions. The world is full of half doers and slackers. When they see a challenge they turn the other way and run. They show up to class just to receive the minimum grade to slide through or go to work just to receive a paycheck. However, "top performers" have a different mindset. They understand all the efforts they apply will reward them for the rest of their life. They are willing to stay focused on a goal until completed. They fight hard for what they believe in, but pick their battles wisely. They see limitations and obstacles as challenges to overcome, not excuses to fail. They get back up when knocked down, instead of claiming it can’t be done. They base their future goals on what can be done, instead of focusing on their past failures. And they’re always willing to help others up instead of laughing at them while they’re down.

These are the individuals that will be at the top of their careers, with the successful jobs, earning a lot of money, and having enough income to do all the things they desire.

According to I-Car the top 10 % of technicians make over $85,000 a year. Many technicians even decide to start and operate their own successful business leaving the earning potential unlimited. Are you going to be one of them or are you someone that will scrape by to make ends meet? The choice is yours. The things and values you consider success are up to you. Your teachers, parents, or friends can’t make these choices for you. It’s all up to you. If you’re a slacker you can change. If you were not an honor student in school, you can improve and still become very successful. If you have limitations you can overcome them. However, no one can help you if you are not willing to let them. If you’re not willing to learn, to work hard, to complete assigned tasks, to help others, be present and on time, or to stay up with the fast paced changes and challenges of technology, than this class is not a good fit for you. This class will be a waste of your time and a waste of our time. You may need to consider another career that does not require the physical application and challenges this industry requires. However, if you are willing to enroll in this class with the mindset of a champion, then we dare you to take the ultimate challenge that Automotive or Collision Repair Technology has to offer you.

~Donnie Smith
"Challenges Produce Champions"

If you're involved in the automotive or collision repair industry and are interested in producing more qualified technicians, I challenge you to join us at www.LearnAutoBody.com and help us produce champions of the collision industry.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Are your childern amoung the two-thirds of America's Youth that will not attend a four-year college?

Should Schools Offer a Two-Tract Curriculum?

Two-tract curriculum has been a controversial subject since the late 18th century and continues to be an issue today.

In the early days of education, school was primarily for individuals planning to go to college and prepare for careers such as professionals, doctors, lawyers, teachers, ministers, and engineers. However, due to compulsory school laws, the schools of America had a much larger and diverse population to serve. The diversity of the students from different cultures and social backgrounds with different job interests required the schools to create a two-tract curriculum to serve the student population. This consisted of a practical one for terminal students and a classical one for college bound students.

Today, many schools and individuals feel academics skills are more important then technical education. Technical and vocational programs even find themselves fighting and defending their programs to keep them from being closed. Academic requirements are also being set higher, which is leading to fewer opportunities for students to elect technical education programs. While academics are a very important part of any education, I feel technical education play an important role as well.

I believe technical education is vital to keep American strong and successful. Technical programs need to be there to provide opportunities for individuals that do not plan to go attend a four-year college. The technical industry is in desperate need for qualified employees today and will hold true in the future. If we cut programs resulting in less trained employees to meet the needs of employers, is a step toward failure in America. If we take a look at history, we see that the lack of technical programs available resulted in a high uneducated society and an extremely high crime rate. I don't know about you, but I don't think we should repeat history. I think we should continue offering a two-tract curriculum and realize all students are not going to attend a four-year university. The National Assessment of Vocational Education (NAVE) report that two-thirds of America’s young people do not obtain a four year degree. This tells me we need to focus more on the two-thirds of the youth in America.

Now, I'm not against four-year programs. I think that is great for the college bound students. I just think we should offer the same level of support for technical education. What do you think?

Visit us on the web at http://www.learnautobody.comif you're involved in the automotive or collision repair industry. We're looking to network with instructors, students and others in the industry to provide optimum results within the industry. We'll be glad to hear from you.

~Donnie Smith