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i want to join the restoration world


AJ Mustang Lover
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I am 21 years old and i currently go to Lincoln Tech NADC in Nashville Tennessee for Auto Collision Repair. It would be nice to get a regular collision repair job , but i am obsessed with classic cars.  i would rather work on them for a living.  i want to own them. the only problem is Im trying to figure out where can i get training for it or a place to get my feet wet. i have no wife or kids so im really looking for relocation

Edited by AJ Mustang Lover (see edit history)
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McPherson College in Kansas has an Automotive Restoration curriculum.... https://www.mcpherson.edu/

 

The other option is to find a restoration shop that will either let you start sweeping floors, or will offer you an apprenticeship....on the job training.  That's how I got really good at trim work, I was self taught for a number of years, then spent two years at White Post Restorations working with a Master Trimmer (Sig Nurstheimer, my spelling may be wrong).  If you do apprentice, you need to be humble.  It took two months for Sig to warm up to me and realize I was eager to learn and wouldn't let my ego get in the way, and that I'd really listen to his methodologies and do my best to emulate his style.  Wow, too many big words, not sure I used them all correctly.

 

Good luck, the restoration business is an interesting one....

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The shops I know would be happy to get an intern that is motivated, shows up on time and can be trusted not to drop a fender on the ground.    If you really want to be in the restoration space there is a real need for younger workers.   If you are smart enough you will be busy the rest of your life.

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23 hours ago, trimacar said:

I hung out my shingle, casually, to do upholstery when I retired from my "real" career.  I've found out that, if people like your work, you're busy "for the rest of your life" and then some!

 

I think this is true for almost any profession in the world but especially in the car world were expertise is thin and dwindling.

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When you are speaking to potential employers and shop owners please be very clear and honest with your own personal abilities. Not having experience doing something is not a bad thing but over selling what you can sucsessfully complete is. Be very clear what your strengths and weakness is. It will encourage rather than discourage that you have realistic goals and abilities. it also show humility and a willingness to increase you knowledge and skills. Also you must understand that the learning curve to get good at anything that involves skill has a whole lot of sucking before it starts to pay off. Don't give up. There is huge reward in this industry, not just in being able to be the guy that can repair what others can't but a industry that is in desperate need of skilled people. This equates to job security.

Good Luck

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Many people would rather have a beginner than someone who has already learned bad habits.

The problem I usually found was new people don't want to say "I don't know but I will get the answer for you" or "I will get someone with the answer".

One other point IMHO learn to talk without "um, uh, you know, so and but.  If you have something to say, say it, if you don't have a word on the tip of your tongue be quiet until you get the word.  Speech is SILVER but SILENCE is GOLD.

Good luck to you.

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All great advice.  I would only add network.  Prepare a resume and look for restoration shops with fb pages.  They may be more open to interacting with you.  Ask about current projects, and how they source new staff.  I suggest this because a lot of business of all types is initiated via social media.  If the shop has a presence, someone is posting as part of their job.  Interacting with you requires little effort.  Be polite, and persistent but not a pest.  If you establish any relationship you have positioned yourself above less committed job seekers.  In other words, you want to be taken seriously. 

 

Try to establish relationships with anyone in the antique auto industry.  A broker or parts vendor may know a shop in need of help.

 

Then show up, smile and try as has been suggested!

 

Good luck, if you want it bad enough, and are open to a move, you will get there!

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)
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Couple more thoughts on this:

 

Mcpherson is great advice but if you are 21 it sounds like your tech school is post high school.  You may or may not be in position to spend more money on your education.

 

If not, take a collision job and plan on giving it a year or two.  Bust your a$$, and when you get serious, confirm a good reference.  While you are at it, get letters of recomendation from prior employers and teachers.  If you ever did volunteer work of any kind, be sure its on your resume.  All of this shows a potential employer you have a base to build on.

 

Join AACA, you prob can get first year free.  Join the local region and volunteer to help w events.

 

These little things will separate you from 95% of newer and actually, more experienced workers.  I have hired hundreds of entry workers in 30 years in business.  While not automotive I can tell you 95% of applicants are not well prepared.  Do this and you will stand out for sure.  

 

Good luck, hope you stay on this forum!

 

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)
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