Auto Service World
Feature   August 1, 2000   by CARS Magazine

Assessing Your Skills & Training Needs

How do you and your employer decide what training you need to take? Is there a training evaluation process available at your workplace?If not, you aren't alone. Many employers in the industry today do...


How do you and your employer decide what training you need to take? Is there a training evaluation process available at your workplace?

If not, you aren’t alone. Many employers in the industry today do not have a practical way to identify what skills and knowledge the technician has acquired from previous training and on-the-job learning and what skills he/she needs to acquire.

So, why is this important? Training is a fundamental on-going requirement for technicians. The costs associated with training are steep – the cost of the training itself plus the time the tech is away from the shop add up. Therefore, employers need to know if the training they are sending the technician on is a good investment. It must provide the tech with skills and knowledge in an area where they are needed. The tech needs to be assured that a professional development opportunity will make him/her a more valuable employee.

One of the findings in the Bridging the Gaps study was that training needs assessment tools, that could be used easily and would help industry employers and employees determine their specific training needs, should be developed.

CARS has followed up on this recommendation by examining different skills and training evaluation methods that already exist, not only in the automotive industry, but in other large industries such as steel, petrochemical, aerospace and tourism. Many industries have developed and implemented effective evaluation tools. CARS has examined these closely and noted the advantages and disadvantages of each. Methods to determine prior learning and the skills acquired have also been explored. Finally, we went to the independent repair and service operations across the country to find out how employers and employees currently determine training needs and what they would like to have available to them. In order to support their future workplace challenges, employers told us they would like to see the following practices available to them:

User-friendly assessment instruments to help predict the learning potential of new and existing employees

Samples of oral and written knowledge based tests to assist in the evaluation of potential employees

Various practical skill/performance tests that would be applicable to the specific workplace activities of each Motive Power trade area

Information about how to identify skills gaps, as well as, how to effectively address the required skills

Samples of “Best Practices” for maintaining employee records for technical and non-technical skills gaps and training needs

These are just some of the valuable suggestions we received.

Now that we have examined existing practices and have spoken to industry employers, CARS will look at how to adapt all of this information to provide the most effective skills gaps and training needs assessment tool kit that can be easily accessed and used by industry.

We’ll keep you up-to-date on our progress!


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