According to Automotive News, it appears that Ford Motor Company is looking to resolve a nationwide shortage involving body-shop specialists through an innovative collaboration with its auto dealers. Since millennials are not typically taught about careers in hands-on skilled trades, they are having difficulty staffing the service bays at their dealerships.
Ford claims that the vehicle industry will require 45,000 mechanics each year through 2026. The quality of repairs and routine maintenance will likely be adversely affected. Dealers depend on service technicians to remedy problems correctly the first time and get customers through their doors as quickly as possible.
When customers have a negative encounter at the dealership, this could directly affect the auto maker. The Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair has estimated that 2/3 of vehicle owners who have had an unpleasant experience with a vehicle repair sell their vehicles within a year and 60% switch makes and models.
Ford is making some critical efforts in recruiting to stem the flow of negativity by engaging students and encouraging them to become technicians over the next two years. The vehicle manufacturer presently has around 30k mechanics for 65k dealers throughout the country. They will add placement specialists at dealers to interact with community colleges, high schools and military bases to teach them about vocational careers. Dealers will be mapped with a specific school and will hold responsibility for sponsoring students by supplying internships and tuition. Ford will also donate cars, engines and other vehicle equipment for students’ practice.
Currently, 40% of Ford sponsored students work at its dealers after graduation. The manufacturer is looking to improve this percentage. More effective recruiting and retention efforts are required.