Scott Sherry is a Master Technician with Arnold Clark Volkswagen. He’s been with the business for almost 30 years.
For Scott, working in the automotive industry was almost inevitable. His family owned a motor factors in Glasgow, so from a young age he was surrounded by vehicles and car parts. During his time at school, he had a Saturday job at Kwik Fit in Paisley. He took the job to earn enough money to represent the UK at the World Scout Jamboree in Australia in 1987.
After leaving school the following year in 1988, Scott began a youth training scheme with Gaulds of Glasgow (now Arnold Clark), attending GTG in Hampden for his block release training. After two years, he pursued an opportunity in motorsport, but his chosen company hit financial difficulty in February 1992. Luckily, a chance came up at Arnold Clark Volkswagen. ‘The rest, as they say, is history.’ Scott explains.
In his early days of technician training, learning was predicated on physical booklets and handouts. Today, he says, things are quite different.
‘We now use a mix of e-learning, virtual classrooms, webinars and face-to-face training at Volkswagen National Training Centre in Milton Keynes.’
Volkswagen training happens next. You can progress from Service Technician to Qualified Technician, and then on to specialisms; for example, diesel engines, petrol engines, transmissions and occupant safety. After specialisms have been gained, the next step is to pursue Master Technician status, broken down into individual weeks to allow knowledge to embed in daily work practices between courses.
Scott’s own progression has been considerable.
‘During my time with Arnold Clark I’ve completed an HNC in Automotive Management with Technology, which was partly funded by the company. Over the years, knowing the company will back me with training has given me the ability and confidence to stay abreast with developments in the automotive industry.’
But he stresses that, for a Master Technician, soft skills are just as important as technical training. He’s often asked to speak to customers about the issues they have with their cars, and this could involve explaining how something works, chatting through a specific issue or road-testing the vehicle with the customer so they can explain any problems they’re having with it.
As for a typical day, he starts off, like many of us, with a browse through his emails to check for replies to any technical queries sent out the previous day. He’ll then consult with the service manager or workshop controller to get an idea of any imminent jobs that will need his perspective – whether it’s a customer in need of a road test or someone looking for a diagnostic check.
If another technician needs the benefit of his experience, the controller will allow time for this, and over the course of the day, Scott will check the diagnostic testers are kept up to date and log any new special tools that have been delivered, allocating space in the tool store.
Occasionally, additional help may be needed from Volkswagen technical support. This could be pictures of any issues or sound recordings of noises. Scott explains that in order for these jobs to be carried out efficiently and on time, you do need a basic level of computer knowledge.
You also have to be a strong communicator. For warranty jobs, Scott’s team will liaise with the Parts department to identify the necessary part and any additional gaskets, nuts or bolts.
As for the best part of Scott’s working day?
‘When a customer I’ve spoken to comes in to collect their car. I can explain the work we’ve carried out to repair it. Often we’ll also send the customer a CitNOW video to show them exactly what’s needed. I also enjoy passing on fresh insights from product launches and technical updates to the other technicians.’
There are rewards available if you work hard, too. During Scott’s time working for Arnold Clark Volkswagen, he’s been rewarded for his hard work and dedication with a trip to the Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg, Germany.
‘It was an inspiring and motivational experience.’ Scott recalls.
And when he’s not in the workshop?
‘I enjoy cycling and snow sports with my family. We also have a 1966 Volkswagen Camper that we use for days out and holidays.’ Sounds good to us!