By Jacques Gordon, MACS ACtion Managing Editor
Recently, our Manager of Service Training, Paul DeGuiseppi, presented a Mobile A/C Update Class here at the MACS offices’ Training Facility. Fifty one people attended, and Paul says that’s a pretty good turn-out. He’s been presenting the Update Class for over a decade, both here and on the road. There have been a lot of changes over the years, so the Update Class has always had a lot to offer. What hasn’t changed much at all is the attendees: Paul said there were very few new faces this year, and I noticed an awful lot of gray hair in the room. That’s both a good thing and a not-so-good thing.
It was a Wednesday night, and those attending were shop owners, techs and tech school instructors. That means they came on their own time after a day at work, and some had driven several hours to get here. I could say that they all demonstrated a commitment to being better techs or instructors, or to strengthening their business, but it somehow felt more like these people were simply interested in learning something new. Either way, everyone actually wanted to be there, and that’s good.
What’s not so good is the lack of new faces. Paul says the people who show up time after time are the least likely to need training. Not that they don’t benefit from it, but they’re already highly experienced with technology and critical thinking (the most important skill for any technician). Meanwhile, the people who have the most to gain from training (any kind of training) are rarely here. I’ve seen this so many times before; training classes full of old guys, with just a few young guys sprinkled in.
Last year I took an ASE exam in a computer-based testing center that offered certification exams for all kinds of professionals. Others in the room that day were in medical, legal and engineering professions. All were younger people with careers in front of them, pursuing certifications as a means of getting ahead. All the grey heads in the room were taking ASE exams.
Automotive technology is changing fast and radically, and staying up to date is no longer optional. In other industries, opportunity opens up for younger people as the older folks retire, because there’s always someone prepared to take over. I wonder if that will happen in our industry too?
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When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.
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The 34th annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Be the Best of the Best will take place January 16-18 2014 at the Sheraton New Orleans.