August 7, 2017
German automaker Mercedes-Benz is filling the need for technicians at its dealerships through a newly established apprenticeship program in the United States.
In a 16-week program, dubbed Mercedes Benz Drive, apprentices will learn skills needed to work on the brand’s models, with additional coursework in career development. Mercedes-Benz claims to be the first luxury automotive brand to create a registered apprenticeship program in the U.S., which may help it get ahead of its competitors in locating and training talent.
Mercedes’ program is approved by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Department of Veterans Affairs, making it part of the National Apprenticeship System in the nation. The program will be available in Long Beach, CA; Dallas, TX; Jacksonville, FL and Norwood, MA.
Both veterans and non-veterans will be eligible for the program, which will prepare them for careers as a technician at a Mercedes-Benz dealership. Trainees will be taught how to work on a vehicle’s brakes and traction as well as learning about service and maintenance.
Other topics covered will include telematics, e-mobility, diagnostic strategy and electrical fundamentals.
After more than 640 hours of hands-on training, those who complete the apprenticeship will receive a certificate from MBUSA and the DOL.
Mercedes-Benz is ensuring it has the technicians it needs. Image credit: MBUSA
“The complexity of our current and future luxury vehicles, along with significant sales growth, has created a strong and growing need for skilled, professional technicians,” said Christian Treiber, vice president of customer service at MBUSA.
“Mechanics are now technologists with a high level of sophistication,” he said. “With an eye towards the future, Mercedes-Benz has mapped out a new path that makes technician jobs attractive to veterans as well as providing much-needed assets for dealerships.”
While Mercedes may be a frontrunner in working with the U.S. government on its program, apprenticeships are a common practice among luxury automakers in countries such as the U.K. (see story).
MBUSA is also looking to ensure that dealerships have the technical talent they require through an educational partnership.
The automaker has linked with Gwinnett Technical College on the Mercedes-Benz Technical Training Program, a two-year program that offers hands-on learning. With this initiative, Mercedes-Benz is not only providing students with skills, but opening up a new channel for recruitment (see story).