Tech to Tech: A different training approach

Brian Manley

As a full-time technician back in the day, I was quite fortunate to attend the Chris Chesney-taught, Train-the-Trainer sessions called Fundamental Inspection & Repair System Training (FIRST) and Emission Diagnostic Graduate Education (EDGE).

Currently senior director of customer training at Advance Auto Parts and an AutoInc. contributor, Chris trained us in the ways of waveform analysis using the Fluke 98, and then we moved into vehicle emission diagnosis using 5-gas analysis.

As soon as we mastered the training, we were ordained official trainers, and we taught these skills to other technicians.

The coolest thing about the training was that the equipment I had in my hands matched exactly to the curriculum Chris used in class, and I could then use the same Fluke 98 that we used in class the next day to diagnose and repair customer’s vehicles.

The marriage of the training to the equipment was the key, and I have repaired many-a-car using those techniques and that equipment.

Fast forward to 2019, and I am now an automotive instructor at our just-opened Cherry Creek Innovation Campus, and I have taken another series of Train-the-Trainer classes through the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) in automotive diagnostics, precision measuring,  DVOM, torque fundamentals, battery/starting & charging, and wheel service & alignment.

The cool thing about this training?

Just like when Chris taught us how to master the Fluke 98, I learned on the exact tools, software and equipment that we saw in our curriculum, and it is the same stuff we have in our training facility.

Over the next school year, we will be training our automotive technology students on the exact tools, software and equipment they will see in their curriculum, removing any chance of confusion.

Once students have been trained and then pass their certification exams, they earn their certificates, which are printable, stack-able and meaningful. They will have received state-of-the-art training on late-model tools and equipment – much of what they will use in a professional repair facility – to be ready for a successful apprenticeship experience.

As an instructor, I’m crazy excited for this opportunity awaiting our students!

My Train-the-Trainer curriculum.

Why NC3?

The NC3 states “The NC3 certification or ‘stamp of approval’ is nationally recognized as the standard for certifications and workforce development,” and “their certifications are built to be integrated into an existing technical program to enhance what was already being taught.”

Industry partners include Starrett Precision Measuring Tools, Snap-on and Lincoln Electric, and the training I received at the national level in their Train-the-Trainer courses were often the folks who develop the tools and the training.

For example, when I travelled to Phoenix, AZ for the Snap-on Shop Key and Advanced Diagnostic Scanner courses, my trainers were part of the team that maintained the ShopKey diagnostic information site, and they had input into the scanner diagnostic software design for the Solus and Zeus scan tools we were using in class.

Training on State of the Art Equipment.

Certifications while in school

By integrating industry certifications into our existing automotive course, it combines the best of both worlds, because I get meaningful professional development that keeps me technically current, and I can then provide my students with more opportunities and relevant job-ready skills.

These certifications are no cost to students, and they can put them to work right away.

In each of the certification pathways, we are able to provide ample tools and equipment so students do not have to wait in line to use one of two scan tools or one of the few working DVOMs.

In discussion with several of my Business and Education Committee members, they are excited to see the effects this training will have on our students, and we are banking that enthusiasm for our industry will increase in our young techs-in-training.

We as a school and a district have created a unique training opportunity, and as I work with my business partners, we hope to see many apprenticeship opportunities open-up for our students to show what they know.

Starrett partnered with Snap-on to provide tools & curriculum for their Precision Measurement curriculum.


Snap-on partnered with NC3 for their Automotive Diagnostics, Battery/Starting & Charging, DVOM, and Wheel Service & Alignment.

Brian Manley is a vocational automotive instructor for the Cherry Creek school district in Aurora, Colo. He is an ASE triple master certified technician and a member of the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) board of trustees. You can contact him at