Today’s trucks are the most complicated beasts we’ve ever encountered. With each new model comes more updates and changes, more systems dependent on sensors and microchips. In turn, these changes require more sophisticated training and tools for diagnosis and repair. But that doesn’t frighten a qualified technician.
The heavy truck mechanic must be responsible for inspection and correction of any faults in trucks and trailers, including electrical and mechanical issues. Highly trained technicians must undergo years of hands- on training in order to reach efficiency.
Unfortunately, Britain is facing a growing dire situation when it comes to qualified technicians. There simply aren’t enough of them even now. Without action to improve its footing, the shortage can only result in worsening conditions in coming years.
Already lorry fleets face extended downtime with units unable to be inspected and repaired in timely fashion. That cuts deeply into already thin margins of fleet revenues. Throughout the U.K. advertisements call for qualified technicians and fitters to fill vacancy spots in truck repair facilities.
The current shortage is partly a result of ageing technicians retiring or passing away and also many technicians from other countries simply leaving the U.K. in search of a higher standard of living. Adding to that we are not attracting, training and recruiting enough apprentice mechanics to the trade.
No one can pick beautiful flowers from their garden without first planting a seed, watering, watching and waiting, weeding and protecting the plant from the elements. Growing heavy goods vehicle technicians requires similar tending in the form of recruiting and on the job training as apprentice mechanics. Earn while you learn is a valuable means of training for a great career.
But first, we must plant the seed by reworking the image of the HGV mechanic and eliminating the picture in the minds of folks that the technician is a dirty, greasy person who comes home reeking of diesel fuel and dirtying the house with his clothes and work boots. Technicians instead are highly skilled and many work in white shop coats with clean workshop conditions. The image of the technician as a grease monkey must go.
Also, we must dismiss the idea that the work is heavy and requires a large, strong person to handle the job. In reality, many types of heavy lifting are carried out using special equipment designed to lighten the load of mechanics. While the work requires a degree of physical fitness, it’s nothing like old days before specialised equipment existed.
In fact, many diagnoses and fault corrections can be accomplished by using handheld computerised devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones. Trade schools, mechanical trade associations, and even trucking and logistics organisations should publish and advertise the benefits of a career as an HGV technician.
Benefits include paid training in an apprenticeship program, clean and safe working conditions, opportunities for advancement and stable employment. A career as a technician can last a lifetime; there will always be demand for apprentices and technicians and new on the job training.
Whether a lorry is powered by diesel fuel, battery electricity, or hydrogen fuel cell electricity it will still contain many moving parts and many technological systems that will require inspection, diagnosis and repair by a qualified HGV technician.
For anyone who is dreaming of a steady career involving daily interesting challenges, we urge you to investigate a career path toward becoming a heavy goods vehicle technician. You will never experience boredom. And you’ll never wear the grease monkey hat. Keep those trucks rolling and have a splendid day.