Traditional, four-year colleges are primary sources of higher education for many career hunters. But as film industry professionals know, the lecture hall is not the sole pathway to success. Brodie Mathews, owner of DeCo Tint and Tint America in Arvada, Colo., studied collision repair technology at Boulder Technical Education Center in Boulder, CO., as a 15-year-old high schooler in 2004. He’s returning to the facility this month, but not as a student.
“I had no idea what the class was going to be like,” Mathews says. “We didn’t have access to the technology we have now, where we jump online and search a YouTube video or look through photos to get an idea of the career path. [We] left it in the hands of the educator, and they did a great job piquing my interest.”
Mathews looks to do the same for his students during a two-week paint protection film (PPF) and vinyl-wrap installation training course spanning from January 31 to February 11. Forty students will be split into two classes each day.
“We will teach these students the correct methods of preparing a vehicle for PPF,” Mathews says. “Prepping the surfaces, creating the correct slip solutions and tack solutions for installation, locating and running software on a plotter, loading film and the installation itself for pre-cut kits and bulking. We will be keeping it limited to entry-level. It will be hood, fenders and mirrors. We may touch on bumpers so they get experience. We want to have basics for them so they can hopefully gain interest in this industry and have a good foundation to start possible employment or an internship right out of school.”
Daniel Chong, technical services representative for Eastman Performance Films LLC, will be on hand for the training. Eastman will also provide a plotter with software, training film and tool kits for students.
“As consumer interest for PPF grows, so does the demand for professionally trained installers,” says Darrell Reed, commercial director, Eastman. “Building a proficient, skilled installer network is essential for sustained growth in PPF. Eastman is excited to support this program and to help the next generation of installers identify career opportunities in the industry.”
Mathews cites it’s becoming increasingly challenging to discover educated installers and retain them. He says the trades are yet to be promoted and pushed as much as a collegiate education. “I don’t think we’re there yet. I think this is a slow transition that will start, and it’s needed. We need to get more people in our industry to help push this towards the younger minds and building a career,” Mathews says.
The 22-year collision repair and window film industry veteran looks to turn the tide when he steps in front of his students in 12 days.
“It’s exciting to imagine that this course, and hopefully many others like it someday, will generate a growing interest in the PPF industry—producing the next generation of pros to meet a growing demand for qualified, skilled film installation talent,” Mathews concludes.