Training at the RV Industry Association National RV Trade Show increased its total technician attendance in the second year of Tech Academy to 154 in 2015, up from 116 during its inaugural offering in 2014.
Despite the growth, fewer technicians stuck to pre-registration commitments.
The preliminary attendance numbers totaled about 70 percent of the total classroom seats technicians registered for prior to the event, compared to 75 percent last year, according to RVIA Director of Education Sharonne Lee.
“I am happy with the offerings that we provided and with pre-registration, but actual attendance, I was disappointed in, because we had a lot of no-shows,” she said.
The Association more than tripled the number of courses in 2015, offering 33 classes, which resulted in technicians registering for 417 classroom seats. However, only 295 seats were filled.
“The reason I’m disappointed in those no-shows is because during pre-registration we had eight classes that were full and we were turning people away,” Lee said, adding that she believes some techs didn’t make the trip without the guarantee of getting into some of the classes.
“So I think we missed out on training some people who really wanted the training.”
To determine why many of the techs registered but did not attend the training seminars, Lee will get feedback from attendees who registered but did not show up in the coming months.
“We haven’t determined a method to follow up with those who didn’t attend,” Lee said. “Those who did attend, the show has sent out an overall survey … I just need to figure out how to get hold of those who didn’t attend.”
Early feedback from attendees was positive, Lee said.
“I only had one person give negative feedback, but other than that, everything was positive, and techs told me they loved it.,” Lee said, adding that a Blue Ox test-drive event outside the South Hall and the Aqua-Hot training sessions were well-received.
“The technicians really liked (the test drive) that was the hands-on portion of the (Blue Ox) class,” she said. “The Aqua-Hot course was one of my highest attended among the hands-on courses.”
Another aspect that got technicians talking early on was the $200 voucher each technician received toward certification. Last year the vouchers were given one per dealership. The certificates are transferrable, and their use will be tracked throughout 2015, according to Lee.
“So they can take that back and give it to someone in the shop who isn’t certified,” Lee said. “They really liked that, and (the vouchers) are serial-numbered and can only be used once, so we’ll see how well that goes.”