Protecting Our Industry With Education

Protecting our industry with education will be one of the biggest challenges our industry will face in the future. If we are not leading the charge in assuring that we have a great educational protocol in place to hire, keep and train our employees, we will lag behind most other industries. Even more than that we must engage in our communities to assure there are educational resources available to encourage people to enter the auto recycling industry. 

This will not happen without each of us assuming our role in the future of automotive recycling. Education should be at the forefront of our industry. It should be in a constant state of change to keep abreast of the many challenges our industry is seeing today. The future of auto recycling demands that we stop being complacent and engage at much higher levels to assure that our workforce is adequately trained before and during their tenure with our companies. 


Support The Next Generation Of Recyclers 

Imagine a world where automotive recycling is a desirable career path for students. We like many industries have a lot to offer potential new employees. We just need to find a way to remove the stigma of our industry. I hope to see our industry take the lead in making this happen. Imagine the vast training opportunities that we could offer along with the various stakeholders in our recycling network. We could not only train salespeople, dismantlers, inventory specialists, and buyers but all the additional support staff our facilities utilize today.  

Our future workforce will have to be smarter and better educated than ever before just due to the evolution of the vehicles we are now seeing in our facilities. We are seeing the impact in our facilities right now as are other automotive industries. I read a few years back that one of the hardest positions to fill in the US was for automotive technicians and I’m quite sure our industry was not even in the mix. I believe that with the influx of the coming generations like millennials we will see a changing dynamic that will influence not just our industry but many industries. They will bring a different attitude towards their work environment that I personally believe will be an improvement. They will challenge our basic theory of how a business functions and how our employees fit into their roles within our operations. It will have to be diverse and flexible. 

These changes will require a concerted effort by all. It will not be something that we can do alone. Our associations and business leaders will have to support the initiative and bring resources to the table. We live in a time where information must be easy and readily available. We will thrive or die if we do not accept this fact. Education should be the cornerstone of everything as an industry that we stand for, now and in the future. We expend so much of our energy fighting for salvage vehicles that we forget that if we do not have a qualified staff to process and get those parts to the marketplace in an acceptable state it will all be for naught. 


Advertise Auto Recycling Successes 

We have a great industry, and should all be proud to be a part of who and what we are. I know so many of you operate your facilities at the highest of industry standards but at some point, in time we must share some of our successes with others in a way that will continue to promote the industry and push it to the top. I would love to see the day when a young man or woman tells their parents that they would like to pursue a career in the automotive recycling industry and they welcome it with open arms because they understand the importance and value of what we do as recyclers. We have a lot to offer and we need to assure that the viability of recycling continues. We must invest in our futures by making sure that all the educational resources are in line with what potential and existing employees need to have a successful career.  

This is not a new idea and we have for many years tried to build on our educational resources (ARA University) however, until we decide to prioritize education and the advancement of our industry through robust educational programs we will continue to struggle. Of course, all it takes is money - right? Yes, but that is not all it takes. We have some brilliant business people who are thriving, and they are because they understand the importance of an educated workforce. We need to bring these minds together and start formulating a plan for our futures. What I love most about our industry is how we don’t hesitate to share. We just need to bottle that in an organized way that will become part of the advancement of recycling. 


Adopting New Attitudes 

I always believe there is room for everyone, but the better we all look, act and conduct ourselves the better we all will be in the future. The best competitor is one who keeps you on your toes always seeking out the next best tactic to advance a business. Complacency people is sadly often what I see in my many travels around the world and not just in recycling but many businesses.  We are seeing alarming rates of businesses shuttering their doors. Many of these are just part of the changing dynamic of how we shop. The old attitude that I know what I need to know is not going to continue to apply as we move into the future. Sadly, we really don’t know enough sometimes so we must have established resources to garner that information at our fingertips. 

The future is truly in our hands. I hope that those of you who have found those unique solutions within your businesses will engage at a new level and help advance our educational resources to a level equal or even greater than what other industries have in place today. An investment in education is an investment in our future. It’s time that we start asking ourselves, "What can I do to help?" True leaders will always find a way and I am hoping that they will find a way to advance educational opportunities for all recyclers and future recyclers. I’m ready to do my part are YOU?


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