From The Tech Director - June - 2020

Persistence and Patience

There’s something to be said for persistence and patience. Whether it’s building that transmission that’s always given you problems and finally getting it right. Or, realizing your dream of opening your own shop. Or, as a student, successfully completing your last few classes, graduating, and starting your career. It required persistence and patience.

Persistence and patience were also required in the development of ATRA’s Virtual Training Solutions (VTS) web-based training platform. After nearly two years of focused time and energy, ATRA’s IBO team has fulfilled our collective vision to provide our industry with 24/7 access to technical, management, and sales training.

Time, travel distance, and life, in general, often interfere with your ability to attend scheduled training seminars. Unfortunately, if you miss one of our live training events, who knows when or if you’ll get the training. With its convenient 24/7 online access, VTS solves this problem.

Not only has our VTS platform been successful in shops, but now more than ever, it’s reaching into schools and automotive training facilities all over North America. We offer the schools and their students the same access our online training under a similar set of criteria as with our ATRA members.

Recently, a reporter with the La Crosse Tribune in Wisconsin did a story on Western Technical College. Like most schools, WTC is closed for the remainder of the year due to COVID-19 protocols. The reporter, Jorden Vian, contacted me to talk about how VTS helps tech schools during the closure and into the future. I explained that our vision is to offer students a similar training opportunity as the various manufacturers and dealerships offer, but with a focus on transmissions. Through VTS, they can earn course credits and completion certificates leading to becoming an ATRA Certified technician.

Over the past several years our industry has been talking about the lack of younger technicians seeking a career in automotive. But rather than talking about it, we asked ourselves what we could do at ATRA to help with this industrywide challenge.

We’ve become more proactive, holding many of our regional seminars at college locations, hoping to get students involved. However, the students don’t have the experience or training to understand most of what we’re presenting because the information is formulated for the journeyman – veteran technicians. Many of the attendees were more intimidated than helped by the material. We also found that many of the students were already burdened with classes, homework, and working after school and weekends. They simply didn’t have the time for a Saturday Seminar.

So, through persistence and patience, we made a game-changing decision. In January 2020, we ramped up our push to make the VTS program more robust with more courses and certificates. Today we have approximately 111 hours of material on the portal along with over 80,000 pages of technical material on the ATRA Technical Center – patience, persistence, success!

Bridging the training gap was the first step. Now we need to develop more traffic over the bridge. The benefits for your shop and our industry are clear – attracting and training new aspiring technicians and providing greater flexibility for access to first-class training for your existing techs.

Imagine a student who’s recently graduated and comes to your shop looking for work. They hand you their resume, and it has an extensive list of ATRA course completion certificates. Moreover, imagine you’re able to seek out these technicians at your local schools before they’re gobbled up by other shops or dealerships. You don’t have to imagine because it’s possible through ATRA’s VTS.

For more details about the exciting relationships we’re developing with local schools and colleges throughout North America, be sure to flip over to page 24 to read From the Classroom to Your Shop. You’ll get a better picture of how ATRA’s VTS is being incorporated into the participating schools’ curriculums and class structure.

As we develop and improve VTS, rest assured that ATRA will continue to provide the best training the industry has to offer. We’ll continue to provide live seminars and EXPO presentations as well as Virtual Installments Monthly. We’re committed to always provide the technical training you’ve come to enjoy and expect. Or, this could be your first experience with our training. Either way, it’s a great time to start using VTS.

Virtual Training Solutions powered by ATRA! It’s the future of training at your finger tips, just a click away!