Staff Development Hours

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See also the Mechanic Apprentice Program page.

All About Staff Development Hours

What are "Staff Development Hours? It's a time when bike kitchen staff and aspiring staff can come by the shop for mechanic tutorials, shop orientation, to take the Mechanic Quiz, etc.

When are Staff Development Hours? Every Sunday evening from 6pm-9pm. Note that the last Sunday of every month is special. In odd months it's a staff meeting. In even months it's a work night. But that's okay. Meetings and work nights are a special sort of staff development.

Who can come to Staff Development Hours? Anybody who is staff (regardless of whether they are a mechanic) may come to Staff Development Hours. Additionally, anybody interested in becoming a mechanic and prepared to commit to a shift can come by to take the mechanic quiz, get oriented in the shop, etc.

If I meet somebody at open hours that wants to be a mechanic at the BK, can I send them to Staff Development Hours? Absolutely. This is one of the main purposes of Staff Development Hours. As long as the prospective mechanic is going to make a commitment to volunteering at the BK, they are welcome at Staff Development Hours.

Can I work on my personal bike project at Staff Development Hours? Absolutely. Working on your own bike is one of the best ways to learn how to be a mechanic.

My bike doesn't need any work, but I still want to learn more about wrenching. Is Staff Development Hours right for me? Absolutely. I'm sure we can find something for you to fix:)

Can I collaborate with my fellow mechanics on work-night-style projects during Staff Development Hours? Sure. This is not exactly what we're focusing on here. But considering that the staff population is going to be pretty high, it's probably a great environment for collaboration on shop development.

Do Staff Development Hours count towards my required staff commitment of one shift per week? Nope. Staff Development Hours are a staff benefit. Your staff commitment is a prerequisite to attending Staff Development Hours.

How to Run Staff Development Hours

  • Open the shop from 6pm-9pm on Sunday evening
  • Be very confident and competent as a mechanic
  • Ensure that anybody people who participate are either staff or prepared to make a staff-level commitment to the BK. I usually ask people what shift they're committed to, if they're on the mailing list, etc., etc. This, of course, is only necessary for people that you don't immediately recognize as staff.
  • When new people come in, I have them read the handbook and give them the first three sections of the Mechanic Quiz (tools, parts, handbook). After they finish, we wander around the shop, discussing any questions they miss, etc. This often serves as a good tour of the shop too. I usually find myself ranting about proper headset stripping and storage, etc.
  • When regulars come in, I inquire how their shifts are going, ask about specific repairs they did, if there were any issues that came up. This is mostly so I can get my open hours fix:)
  • Often, people have their own projects that they're working on. In this case, Staff Development Hours operates very much like open hours. The same sort of rules apply (e.g., the patron operates the tools, not mechanic). However, I usually augment my regular spiel with some meta-level training. For example, I emphasize how to diagnose problems instead of just identifying the problem and describing the fix. We discuss other sorts of related problems that might come up, often touring around the shop digressing endlessly.
  • When people don't have their own projects, I create projects for them. These usually consist of the normal open hours process: 1. Understand the part you're looking for, 2. dig up the part, 3. clean/bench test the part, 4. Install the part, 5. adjust the part. If the patron has any specific areas of interest, we drum up a tutorial in that domain.