Mechanic apprentice program at Driver’s Way takes you from beginner to expert with personal, hands-on training

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Josh Argo and Austin Mcauley learning the automotive trade at Driver’s Way. Photo via Patience Itson for Bham Now

Looking to learn a valuable trade in Birmingham? Become an experienced professional mechanic when you join the apprentice program at Driver’s Way.  Here’s everything you need to know.

A Look at the Program

The apprentice program at Driver’s Way began in 2016, and is headed by service manager Keith Johnson, and shop foreman Robert Hafley.

Johnson holds more than 25 years of experience in the automotive parts and service management.

Hafley began his automotive career almost 30 years ago as a technician who trained at Champion Lincoln/Mercury in Birmingham. During this time, he attended Ford training at Bessemer State Technical College (now Lawson State), and became a Ford Master Technician. He too is also an ASE certified master technician.

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Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

“After coming to Driver’s in 2002 as a technician, I had the opportunity to move into management in 2015 as the shop foreman,” Hafley said. “I enjoy the challenge of helping run a busy shop.”

According to Hafley, the apprentice program was developed for two main reasons:

  1. To meet the need for good automotive technicians and help Driver’s Way with their growing business.
  2. To introduce people who have no former training in the field to the technical side of the automotive business. Just a passion to learn.

Meet the Apprentices of Driver’s Way

The team of apprentices at Driver’s Way are as unique as the company. They come from all walks of life, each bringing different ideas and perspective. Some have previous experience in the automotive industry while others are new to the field. No matter their skill level, they all have one thing in common—the desire to further their career in a trade with high demand.

Josh Argo has been in the apprentice program at Driver’s Way for two years.

“Before working here, I had very little knowledge of automotive work, as I was 19 and only had experience in the restaurant industry,” Argo said. “This program is very worthwhile and has given me a great career opportunity.”

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Josh Argo learns valuable automotive experience as an apprentice at Driver’s Way. Photo via Patience Itson for Bham Now

Austin Mcauley started the apprentice program when he was 18 after working at a factory in Birmingham, but has always had an interest in automotive work.

“What caught my attention about the apprentice program at Driver’s Way was all the learning opportunities that I could receive,” Mcauley said. “The most exciting thing being the chance to work and further my knowledge alongside other great mechanics.”

So, who are the great mechanics teaching them everything they need to know? One is Greg Stafford, senior technician.

“I learned automotive work as a trade right after high school,” Stafford said. “I have now been in the automotive industry for 30 years and am now helping to teach and train the younger generation.”

5 Reasons to Apply

1. Learn a desired trade skill from the bottom up. (That’s a rare opportunity!)

When joining the apprentice program at Driver’s Way, you are considered a future technician and are immediately paired with one of Driver’s Way’s top-tier lead technicians. This means you are able to learn from the most experienced technicians around throughout the day. Who better to learn from than the best and most experienced?

“This is common in many trade fields, however, we rarely see it in the automotive service industry,” Hafley said.

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Greg Stafford works on a vehicle at Driver’s Way. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

Greg Stafford works on a vehicle at Driver’s Way. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

How come?

According to Hafley, “Most shops are looking for techs who already have experience or are unable, or unwilling, to train new techs from the bottom up. But we feel that our personnel and process are unique and affords us the ability to offer this apprentice program,” Hafley said.

Considering how Driver’s Way offers a unique experience for consumers, this makes perfect sense! (Read more about what makes Driver’s Way so unique.)

2. Further your career.

What will you learn in the apprentice program? In a nutshell—everything about the automotive industry. Literally. From basic automotive maintenance like oil changes and tire rotations to electronic engine control diagnostics and electrical repair, you will have the opportunity to learn and master a wide range of important skills that will help further your career. Who knows? Maybe one day you’ll be the master training the apprentice.

3. Make a competitive wage.

In some ways, an apprentice program is like an internship program because of the valuable hands-on experience it provides. But here’s a perk worth mentioning of becoming an apprentice at Driver’s Way—you are hired as a real employee. That means a competitive paycheck and employee benefits, like paid vacation. Not bad! Not bad at all.

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Atiq Bhatti, apprentice at Driver’s Way. Photo via Patience Itson for Bham Now

4. Be a part of a growing and successful business.

Did you know that Driver’s Way has been a leader in the used-car dealership industry since 1997? Yep, this company has been in Birmingham for quite a while—and business has only continued to grow over the years.

A core reason for this is that they have stayed ahead of the competition in the areas of online service and technology. As you know, technology is a great aid in helping a company move ahead of the competition. Learn how Driver’s Way is using technology to enhance its brand and the car-shopping experience for consumers.

Oh, and here’s one more tidbit for you. Driver’s Way also has a reconditioning department that is unlike any other in Birmingham, which has greatly added to its success. Learn all about it.

5. Work on next-level vehicles.

When you become a part of the apprentice program at Driver’s Way, you’ll have the opportunity to gain real-life, hands-on experience on over 30 makes of vehicles with over 150 different models. The opportunities are endless and the sky’s the limit!

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Noah Richey works on making a vehicle great at Driver’s Way. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

Who Should Apply for the Apprentice Program at Driver’s Way?

Find out if you are a good fit for the apprentice program at Driver’s Way by  asking yourself these questions:

  • Am I a motivated self-starter?
  • Am I friendly and easy to get along with?
  • Am I interested in entering the technical side of the automotive business?
  • Am I willing to learn?
  • Do I follow directions well?
  • Do I work well with others?

If you answered yes to these questions, then you may be an excellent match for the program! Congrats, you may be well on your way to becoming part of the apprentice program at Driver’s Way.

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Apprentices work on all types of vehicles at Driver’s Way. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

Become an Apprentice—Apply Now!

If you think you have what it takes to be an apprentice at Driver’s Way,  Click here to learn more.

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