When you talk, do people listen? Perhaps a better way to pose that question would be; do you feel heard in your workplace? When you bring a question or request to your superiors, are your needs met?

Mentor support is a critical part of making it in our industry, particularly for those first building their network of collision contacts. This sector is as tight-knit as they come—attend any industry event to find out firsthand. The difference made by having a network of supporters, both inside and out of your workplace, can make or break your experience on the production floor.

Finding the right mentor is a unique experience for each person that enters this industry. Perhaps you have a parent or a trusted family friend eager to show you the ropes; maybe you’re walking in with little more than a basic understanding and no references or connections. Whatever your situation may be, there are plenty of qualified professionals prepared to take you under their wing—if you’re willing to put in the work.

A mentor-mentee relationship is different than that of a teacher-student dynamic. In the classroom, young people are often conditioned to speak only when spoken to. Questions are few and far between—unless someone wants to use the bathroom—and the conversation is frequently one-sided. You won’t learn like this from your mentors. A successful mentor-mentee bond is one with open communication.

So, are you a good communicator? Do you do your very best to communicate frustrations in a calculated and professional way? Do you ask questions even when you’re a little unsure? If you are faced with a problem or recognize a recurring challenge on the production floor, do you say something? Are you taking efforts to make your job as straightforward as it can be?

Problems will never be fixed if you simply let them pass by. Mind-reading may not be real, but communication does wonders for a team’s productivity. If you have passion and drive, this industry can present a myriad of opportunities to you. This fact is outlined by the stories in this issue. Look to our cover star’s drive, Dorrian Selley, as he conquers two trades with a gold medal around his neck; or to the two WorldSkills competitors, Abigail King and Dorien Lozeau, who are taking their skills to the international stage. Take a glance at our restorer story—that’s free advice from three successful owners of restoration businesses.

If the words penned on this page don’t convince you of the vastness of our industry, let this issue of Bodyworx Professional do the talking.

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