New Mentoring Program Aims to Boost Technician Retention

Courtesy of ABRN

By Lisa Greenberg
Associate Editor

Mark Claypool

Orlando, Fla.-You've heard all the statistics about labor shortages in the collision repair industry, and chances are if you're a shop owner, finding good, qualified technicians is a recurring problem. Mentors @ Work was established by Mark Claypool, executive director of the National Auto Body Council (NABC), to address and potentially solve the problem of "revolving shop doors."

The program was officially launched on Jan. 1, but Claypool gave Collision Industry Conference (CIC) meeting attendees a sneak peak of what's to come at the December meeting. "Shop owners are running new hires by the seat of their pants," he says. "They have no road map. Raiding other shops is a quick fix."

His company provides a Web-based program for attracting and retaining employees by using occupational mentoring. Shop personnel are trained to become mentors to new hires and to teach them the skills they need to be successful. With the program, he expects training to become a "B" tech to take about two years, and for "A" tech status to be achieved in three to five years.

One benefit is that mentoring creates an atmosphere of trust and bonding that helps to retain techs.

The program teaches shop owners and managers the best ways to attract apprentices, while also teaching owners and managers employee training methods. The master craftsman, who acts as the mentor, and the apprentice both take tests to determine if they have the potential to be successful before the program begins. Choosing a mentor is an important part of the process, and Claypool says he or she must be highly skilled and must have the patience and verbal skills to teach others. Some other components of the program are as follows:

The program's success is evaluated online from the owner's, mentor's and apprentice's points of view throughout the apprenticeship process.

It uses collision-specific technical industry standards.

It provides fair methods of payment for the mentor and the apprentice.

For more information, visit the program's Web site ( or call (630) 762-0614.


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