Quality training is an ideal way to keep up with technical trends and techniques. Yet, is it worth it? Rob Marshall drops into ADAS training at Bosch’s Training Centre to find out…
There has never been a more exciting time to be an independent repairer. With technology evolving so rapidly, the keen professional technician cannot get the chance to get bored with so much new information to absorb. Even so, taking time out to learn is not easy. Independent garages remain immensely busy and losing one technician for just one day places the workshop under extra strain. Yet, regular training is becoming ever more necessary, because learning on the job is no longer sufficient to keep up to date. It takes management with long-term foresight and devoted technicians to set aside the necessary time to develop skills outside the workplace.
Thanks to established training providers catering for the aftermarket, it is not as though workshops and technicians are stuck for choice. Bosch, for instance, offers a wealth of topics and qualifications, with both online and in-person training options. Courses vary from generic, such as the ‘Braking and Chassis Systems‘ (VSC6) and ‘Engine Operation and Measuring of Components’ (VSTD52) to being more focussed. ‘Gasoline Direct Injection System Diagnosis’ (VSG11) and ‘Common Rail System Analysis’ (VSD15), for instance. You can also look at developing specific expertise, by participating in, for example, ‘Oscilloscope Operation & Signal Test Methods’ (VSTD9), or ‘Control Unit Programming, using Bosch’s KTS’ (VSTD54).
When looking at very recent and developing technologies, two courses that appealed to us especially were those on Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Systems (VSH267) or one of a trio on ADAS. While electrification tends to be very visual, ADAS presents more of a challenge. Firstly, there is scant on-car work to do, other than plugging into the EOBD socket, supporting the battery and cycling the ignition. Most of the course, therefore, involves moderately dry theory and learning how to operate specific hard and software to print out certificates that confirm the work has been done. This is not an easy topic to teach.
So, what is a course like?
With this in mind, we ventured to Bosch’s Automotive Aftermarket Service Training Centre, based in Denham, West London. The cynic might have thought that the technicians present all hailed from the South East. This was not the case. Representatives from Wales, Suffolk and Yorkshire had all made the effort. One delegate had even travelled from Bulgaria. Furthermore, you might have expected all techs to originate from the Bosch Car Service network and, therefore, had a degree of obligation to attend. Again, this was untrue. Admittedly, while some Bosch Car Service members were present, several independent garage owners and technicians had also registered for ADAS calibration training and, intriguingly, not all of them use Bosch’s diagnostic equipment.
Our course of choice was VSB41: ‘ADAS Diagnosis and Calibration’ – a title that struggles to stir the soul. Truthfully, the expectation was a day of monotonous lecturing, surrounded by bored technicians, struggling to stifle their yawns. To his considerable credit, the course trainer, Paul Harper, kept everybody engaged by combining group sit-down explanations, interactive theory, practical demonstrations and one-on-one guidance. The atmosphere overall was professional but not over-formal and the course was sufficiently flexible to allow questions at any point.
As successful completion results in a lifetime-lasting IMI Level 2 qualification, the course curriculum is influenced by IMI requirements. The two-day course comprises a single day of learning that provides all that you need to know to pass day two’s written and practical assessments. A potential problem was that all technicians had to be familiar with Bosch’s KTS590, DAS 3000 and the company’s ADAS Positioning (BAP) Software. Yet, even technicians that do not use Bosch equipment daily were brought up to speed quickly, thanks to the systems being surprisingly intuitive. It was refreshing also that the course placed more emphasis on technician competence, not the brilliance and apparent infallibility of the equipment. Recognising that different garages use diverse equipment, the focus on the ADAS calibration process was a vital transferrable skill. Further useful advice for technicians to take back to their workshops included a substantial, A4 handbook that included not just a course overview but also advice on how a workshop should be laid out for effective ADAS calibrations.
Coming to the crunch…
Day 2 of VSB41 starts with multiple-choice questions, set by the IMI. This is followed by every delegate having 90 minutes to calibrate the ADAS on a vehicle other than the Nissan Qashqai training car.
While the fear of being examined strikes fear into many technicians, several garage owners told us that they prefer being assessed, rather than gaining a qualification for simply turning up. They elaborated that being tested is the only way to confirm if they can calibrate ADAS systems correctly. With the calibration procedure becoming ever-more essential to complete an increasing number of common repair operations safely, it is hard to disagree with their sentiments.
Access more information about Bosch’s training courses at www.bosch-training-solutions.com
Bosch’s ADAS offering…
Course code VSB40 is a single-day, face-to-face introduction to ADAS technologies and offers an IMI Level Three qualification. We attended the first day of the VSB41, ‘ADAS Diagnosis and Calibration’, which requires you to complete VSB40 successfully beforehand. When taken in-person at Bosch’s Automotive Aftermarket Service Training Centre, VSB41 blends theoretical learning, with practical demonstrations and exercises. The second day is the assessment. Due to vagaries in the IMI qualifications, the two-day-long VSB41 provides successful candidates with an IMI Level 2 ADAS calibration award.
Should you require advanced ADAS diagnostic skills, Bosch offers the IMI Level 3 VSB47. You must have completed both VSB40 and VSB41 beforehand, because VSB47 builds on the knowledge and experience that you would have gained from these earlier courses.