By Dave Cermak
Service Development Manager
Allstate Peterbilt Group
The transition from being a student in a post-secondary vocational program to a technician on the service floor of a Peterbilt dealership can be a scary, and sometimes stressful, period in a new technician’s life. You learn quickly how much you don’t know when you’re rubbing elbows with some of the best technicians in the business. Part of the uncertainty comes from not knowing what you should be doing or what the expectations are.
Allstate Peterbilt Group recognizes that entry-level technicians have a huge hill to climb during the first year or so of their careers and our goal is to make it an uncomplicated and positive career building experience. We also recognize that during school, your classes and subject matter were geared toward industry basics and standard practices, so getting the product specific information and skill sets that you need to work on the Peterbilt product is crucial to your success.
Here are a few suggestions that can guide you through the transition from student to technician:
• The dealership understands that you are entry-level and have a lot to learn, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. You have an unbelievable amount of resources at your disposal in the form of experienced technicians, shop foremen, Service Managers, and other employees in the dealership.
• The importance of work ethic and desire to learn cannot be over stressed. I can’t tell you the number of times, when I have been talking to a seasoned technician, that I have been told, “I don’t mind helping him. He’s a hard worker and eager to learn.” Be that person — and you’ll find that your peers are more than happy to help you learn and succeed.
• There are volumes of information and online training programs available from nearly every manufacturer. Once you start working, you’ll have access to online training. Don’t wait to be told to seek it out and start learning the specifics of the products you will be working on. Advanced instructor-led training goes to those who can prove they know how to learn.
• You don’t need every tool ever invented. You do need a tool box with wheels on it to get around the shop, but just get a good solid basic set of tools to start. The dealership provides all of the specialty tools and other technicians in the shop are generally gracious enough to lend you a specific tool if you need it. As you learn what tools are needed you can purchase them.
You’ve possibly heard the term “lifelong learner”. When you graduated from school, that wasn’t the end of your training, it was just the beginning. Embrace being that lifelong learner and you’ll enjoy a long and fulfilling career.