BMW relies on highly skilled service technicians to perform work on the BMW vehicles it sells to its customers. In turn, skilled technicians help to maintain customer satisfaction, which retains customers for the future. Now BMW is looking to ACTs WorkKeys to validate those skills.
A student in BMWs Service Technician Education Programs (STEP) demonstrates his skill to a STEP instructor.
We build some of the most innovative cars in the world, said Russ Lucas, southern regional aftersales manager, BMW of North America. Without high-quality technicians, BMW couldnt continue to advance the technology that gives us an edge over our competition.
The company has incorporated two WorkKeys assessmentsReading for Information and Applied Technologyinto its Service Technician Education Programs (STEP), a national specialized training system that prepares participants for employment at BMW Centers (dealerships) across North America.
WorkKeys adds traction to our programs. The scores help prove to centers that they are getting highly qualified technicians from our programs, said Eric Heckerman, BMW career development and retention strategy manager.
A student in BMWs Service Technician Education Programs (STEP) completes the WorkKeys Applied Technology assessment during a class.
Our goal is to raise awareness of WorkKeys, and for our centers to recognize the validity of the WorkKeys qualification in our programs. Over time, and with the opportunity to compare the effectiveness and longevity of employees who have been WorkKeys-qualified to those who have not, the centers will begin to independently rely on WorkKeys for their local recruitment initiatives.
The centers should recognize WorkKeys as an effective tool they have available to help identify the qualifications of a potential new employee in addition to a nice resume and recommendations when they plan on hiring personnel who are not from one of our programs.
BMW offers its 24-week STEP technician apprentice development program scholarship to the top graduates of postsecondary automotive technical schools. Technicians are not required to be STEP graduates to work at a BMW Center. However, centers that hire graduates from our programs are more likely to retain these employees longer since they have been recruited, interviewed, and WorkKeys-qualified via a standardized process. WorkKeys identifies the individuals qualification to assimilate the specific training BMW requires. said Heckerman.
Growing competition from other automakers has increased BMWs need for highly skilled technicians, said Lucas. WorkKeys helps us ensure that our technicians have the skill sets and skill levels required to work on BMW vehicles.
BMWs relationship with WorkKeys began on a regional level. Lucas learned about WorkKeys from a colleague and used the job profiling component to analyze the skills of entry-level technicians. Job profiling identifies the WorkKeys skills and the skill levels a person must have to perform a job.
Profiling results showed the Reading for Information and Applied Technology assessments to be most critical to BMW technicians. They must have the ability to diagnose problems, do complex electronic work, figure out mathematical equations, and use tools to solve problemswhich is where the Applied Technology piece comes in, said Lucas.
The regions successes with WorkKeys caught the attention of BMWs corporate office in New Jersey, which added the assessments to STEP this past year. Dealers can also use WorkKeys to test other applicants and current employees at any of STEPs training locations across the country.
In the future, BMW plans to use other WorkKeys assessments to help technicians gain more qualifications, to profile additional positions, and to offer WorkKeys testing to current BMW technicians for training purposes.
WorkKeys is a perfect fit with where the automotive industry is going. The assessments help us measure the skills needed for the technology of tomorrow, said Lucas.