I want to share some thoughts and advice on becoming a mechanic apprentice. It’s not the “be all that ends all”… “follow it to the letter” advice but after all of the different jobs and mechanics I’ve worked with for nearly 4 decades I have a pretty good idea on how to get started and survive the 4 year journey to earn the coveted mechanic red seal. I love the “journeyman” label we all get when it’s finally done because it fits perfectly.
Why? Because it really is a journey through various obstacles that are sometimes out of your control. That first impression is everything because you’re standing in front of someone you’ve just met with a resume in your hand thinking of the best words to sell yourself. You can’t say I’m experienced in this and that because you’re a greenhorn…. the odds are against you. You just need to be up to the challenge.
Get Into A Foundation Program
The 10 month foundation program is the best way to get your foot in the door. Every truck shop, construction site, mining company and auto dealership know that you’re ready to work after completing tech school because most of the shop personnel have gone through the same course. Tech school is intense and detailed to get you lots of knowledge to feel confident on the job.
Your chances of employment are much higher. When I started in college they had a 6 month Heavy Duty Pre-Apprenticeship course that covered everything from trucks to dozers. The mine that hired me right out of school gave me a one year credit because of the 6 month pre-app so I started my trade in second year. That’s how valuable industry regards schooling and probably most employers would prefer to hire someone who has had foundation training.
Securing That First Job – Sell Yourself Using a Positive Attitude
During a meeting or interview if you say you’ve always wanted to be a mechanic and will do anything to get the knowledge required to become an asset for the company you will raise a few eyebrows. Be yourself and don’t stop looking because something will happen. You may do a lot of oil changes, brake jobs and suspensions at first but that will prove to your employer that you’re serious. If they see you getting grungy dirty every day and you’re still walking around with a smile on your face that’s sealing the deal towards getting into an apprenticeship and securing employment.
Networking – Get To Know People In The Industry
You need to have the desire to pursue this trade. You need that desire to over come any road blocks that get in your way. You will have to do things that you wouldn’t normally do like keep in touch with contacts in the industry including service managers at private and dealer repair shops, construction sites, your local apprenticeship board, human resources personnel, technical institutes and of course technicians already in the trade.
Ask Questions Show Enthusiasm
The knowledge you can gain from good contacts who have experience in the industry is extremely valuable. Your questions can be answered and any opportunities that come up are in the palm of your hand. Your enthusiasm will raise eyebrows anywhere you go. If you show your excitement and desire to be part of a team you will be remembered ….compared to someone who drags their feet and not sure about their committment.
If you have anything to add please comment below or ask a question in the forum. There’s a wealth of knowledge among the Mechanics Hub members and I’m sure everyone there has a story to tell regarding their own journey in the trade.