CVW sat down with Steve Smith, National Sales Manager ART for Mirka UK, to discuss where training is heading and what the current requirements are.
On- and off-site training is important for technicians within the CV sector because it provides them with an environment in which they can learn and develop new skills and techniques that will allow them to handle a variety of jobs, whilst also improving their productivity. In addition, the training also allows businesses to meet the constantly changing demands of their customer base, increase the menu of services they can offer, assist in reducing key to key times, and increase profitability.
Q. Are there any current training needs within the CV market regarding surface preparation?
A. We have seen metallic and pearl coat paint finishes becoming more popular, and with this comes the challenge of ensuring that surface preparation needs are met. The way Mirka meets these needs is by ensuring that the businesses and technicians select or have access to the right abrasive and tooling options, and are following the correct processes, so repairs can be kept to a minimum. This, in turn, means that the panels can be blended out instead of painting full panels, all of which assists in keeping costs under control whilst enabling an increase in output.
Q. If so, what are CV companies looking for in regards to training from a manufacturer like Mirka?
A. Complete surface preparation training is required to meet the changes within the market and customers’ demands. The training for this covers filler repairs through to general surface preparation, as well as paint rectification, because every area within the repair process is key to producing high quality workmanship.
In addition, with many varying substrates within the CV market, all aspects of training are required. Whether your sanding requirements are for fiberglass, metal, plastic, and even composite panels, it’s vital to ensure all preparation is correct to avoid any unnecessary re-work.
Q. Would they prefer on-site training or would they value the training offered at the Mirka training centre?
A. A mixture of both can be beneficial. At the Mirka training centre, everything is covered; starting in the classroom, where objectives are set, through to the hands on part in the training centre itself. This option provides the business with a great opportunity to fully test various products and tooling under the guidance of Mirka’s technical experts and they can ask any questions they might have.
When it comes to training within their own environment, Mirka sees that this brings real-life experience to the fore and can be rewarding for the customer. Overall, what Mirka has found from running the training is that it’s all about the learning and development of skill sets that will enable a technician to tackle any surface preparation requirements with confidence.
Q. Would you say there’s a shortage of skilled technicians at the moment?
A. Skill levels are at an all-time low within the bodywork repair industry, so training is an area that Mirka believes adds value to repairers and the continuation of this joined-up approach makes for a long term successful business partnership.