The ASE Education Foundation has released the findings of its student career survey, first presented in July at the ASE Instructor Training Conference.
The Foundation conducted the survey to learn how many automotive students went on to careers in the automotive service industry. The survey found students attending programs accredited by ASE were more likely to feel well-prepared for their careers, go on to earn ASE credentials, and enter the industry versus their counterparts from non-accredited programs. Over 100,000 students nationwide are enrolled in high school and college programs accredited by ASE.
The results show graduates who only worked as a service professional for a short period of time or chose to pursue a career path in another field did so for a variety of reasons, including lack of skills, lost interest, or inability to find a job. The survey also revealed students who engaged in meaningful work-based learning while still in school were more likely to join and remain in the automotive service industry. Notably, students from ASE-accredited programs were more likely to participate in work-based learning than those from non-accredited programs.
Work-based learning includes internships, apprenticeships, and co-ops, and these programs are structured, so students are working on a variety of tasks that directly relate to the various systems and technologies they are studying in school. The students work together with mentors, experienced working techs, and get hands-on experience working on different systems while being closely guided. Students are able to grow their skill set while being immersed in the culture of the repair shop, learning what it takes to successfully service vehicles and be part of a working team.
“The survey results reinforce the steps employers can take to help improve job retention and help ensure students are more qualified when entering the work force,” said Mike Coley, ASE Education Foundation president. “First, they can get involved with local schools, making sure they are ASE-accredited and providing students with the foundation for a solid career. Second, they can go beyond speaking and job-shadowing, and start a work-based learning program where students are hired to do meaningful work in their businesses while they are still learning. This combination of activities has powerful impact on the ability of employers to identify and retain skilled employees.”