With more than 2,500 followers on his auto painting-themed Instagram account, Fix Auto Stratford’s refinish technician Josh Dobson is something of a flag-bearer for the industry. Collision Repair recently caught up with Dobson to talk about training in the industry, as well as what he sees as the biggest misconceptions about careers in auto painting.

Why is regular training so important in your field?

Training is something that is not only important for newcomers to the industry but also experienced painters. In automotive painting, there are always new processes that keep coming out. These processes are meant to speed us up in the shop, to increase production and productivity. It’s important as experienced painters to be up-to-date with the latest training not only for yourself but so that you can also explain the “why” to inexperienced workers. As journeymen sometimes were not well versed in explaining why something is the way it is. We can show you how to do it but not necessarily explain why, so for this very reason it’s important for the training to be a priority for all levels within the industry.

How do keep up to date with your own training?

I stick to my paint manufacturers training courses. I’m fortunate with Axalta that they have E-Training modules that are ten to 15 minutes long. These modules run through their products and processes, and are quick, easy and can be done at home. I also like taking in-class courses at Axalta’s training facility. Being able to maintain your certifications is important, not only to pick up new things but also as a way of staying ahead of the new changes entering the industry.

What do you foresee being the biggest change to the current training process?

Probably the in-class courses being phasedout. This industry continually pushes for production and that’s what we’re striving for. The number one goal is to speed up production and touch the car less. Sending a tech off for two or three days for training is inefficient when you can offer an online course that condenses it down to two or three hours and can be taken at your shop.

What do you see as the biggest misconnection about automotive painting?

I think the biggest misconception is that some people think it’s dirty, grungy, nasty work. This stigma seems to be attached to working in a bodyshop. In reality, it’s the complete opposite. It’s fun, it’s lively, it’s clean and it’s rewarding. As far as painting goes, you get to put the finish on a car to make it look beautiful again!



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