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  • Equipment Training Survey - Comments

    A couple of points from a former mechanic and now a manufactures rep.

    The pinsetter schools were never designed to teach you to be a head mechanic. As a BRC mechanic it was ONE STEP in becoming qualified to EVENTUALLY get your own center. Some guys have a fear of getting into the machine, while others blindly start tearing things apart. The school is designed to teach you the theory of the machine - what it should be doing and why, so the blind guy now understands what he is doing. It also gives you some hands on time, so the nervous guy gets a chance to see what working on the major assemblies is about and gains the confidence that he can put it back together correctly. Naturally, when a mechanic comes back from school, he is ready to set the world on fire with his new found knowledge. We would historically still retain a "B" mechanic status for at least another year before even being considered for a head mechanic position. Some would go sooner; some would never make it - even after schooling. School is the beginning of a career mechanics training - not the conclusion. It is also a sizeable expense - either for the mechanic, or the owner (often it is the same person). I have noticed over the years that more and more centers require a contract with the mechanic stating they will not leave the center within a year of the schooling - if they do, they are liable to repay all of the expenses the center invested in them to go to school. This was a result of guys coming back from school and feeling they could do better, would turn around and quit working for the center that had just invested in their training.

    The other training I have not seen discussed much here is that of the one day training seminars. We have several A-2 and Lane Maintenance seminars that we have offered over the years. When I first started conducting pinsetter training seminars in the late 90's it was not uncommon to have as many as 75 mechanics and proprietors attend - with the average attendance being around 40. Now if you host a seminar, you are lucky to see 1-2 dozen people show up. Now you also see more guys leaving during the class to take a call, or texting back and forth (presumably with their center) I have seen more guys come to a seminar at their own expense and on their time off, because the center cannot or will not pay their way. This is very frustrating as a presenter, because my company and the distributor have an investment in my time to be there, but it is also frustrating because I travel and meet with many mechanics and proprietors who are always saying the same things: We need better trained mechanics, all the good trained guys are leaving the business, I can't find a good mechanic to run/work in my center. Well trained mechanics don't just happen. There are very few guys who just "know" how to work on machines - and as technology advances (internet, ipods, smartphones), the number of people coming into our industry with a thirst to work and learn - is rapidly decreasing.

    In one form or another, we are all stewards of our industry. It falls on each of us to do our part to make training available to those who need it, and to improve our own education when the opportunity comes along. Bowl Tech is one very good source for gaining knowledge and advice. There is still no replacement for the experience or the benefit of hands on time with a mentor/instructor. We have all heard people say you either have it or you don't and I do believe that this rings true with mechanical skills and thinking. I have met a lot of guys with no training who can run circles around some of the best trained mechanics out there. I have also met guys with lots of certificates, who should stay away from anything with moving parts! I don't see people pushing for training like they used to or insisting that employees get or update their training like they used to. Perhaps it is the economy and just being glad to have a job. Perhaps our centers are already running so lean that they cannot afford to send a guy out for training. My belief is that they cannot afford not to.

    DD
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    • Equipment Training Survey - Comments
      ddirito
      A couple of points from a former mechanic and now a manufactures rep. The pinsetter schools were never designed to teach you to be a head mechanic. As a BRC mechanic it was ONE STEP in becoming qualified to EVENTUALLY get your own center. Some guys have a fear of getting into the machine, while others blindly start tearing things apart. The school is designed to teach you the theory of the machine - what it should be doing and why, so the blind guy now understands what he is doing. It also gives you some hands on time, so the nervous guy gets a ...
      12-23-2011, 12:08 PM
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