Summer School

By Darryl Simmons

It’s the perfect time to showcase the industry, first-hand!

There’s still some summer left, and that means you’ve got an opportunity. Actually, you’ve got lots of opportunities, but I’m thinking of one in particular: introducing new people to the business and showing them that there are careers being made.

Our schools are still on the farm schedule: a few months so­ in the summer so the kids can help out. You might have noticed that most kids and teens these days aren’t doing this during the summer. This is where the opportunity comes in for you to help your industry and the people you know.

A lot of teens are at a loose end during the summer months. They may have a summer job, but they probably still have some more spare time than they do during school. That’s an opportunity for them to learn about what you do all day. Think about it. Your younger friends and relatives may have no idea what goes on in a collision repair facility.

They’ve probably got a vague idea, but they’ve never been exposed to the many small miracles that you take as a matter of course.

They’ve never seen a car repaired. Anything you’re not familiar with can be like magic. Learning how the trick works is exciting.

A few hours in a busy shop can change someone’s perspective.

They can see the skills that you and your colleagues have honed and now bring to bear to solve complex technical issues. They can see the team utilize creative problem solving to get the job done. They can witness the application of science and engineering. They can see the passion, the craft and the sheer artistry that goes into repair and painting.

Last, but certainly not least, they can see that there are careers being made. In short, you can show them some of what you do, and let them know your reasons for doing it. I don’t recommend you just start dragging your younger cousin to work with you one day. Check in with your other team members first. Most importantly, check in with your boss. There might be some reluctance at first, but people will likely come around once you explain your intent. 

We all want more bright and creative young people to join the industry. This is probably especially true of your boss. He or she knows that young people are the key to the future.

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