Old 05-23-16, 11:49 AM
Str*t*gic *quivoc*tor
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I went to UBI. Change of careers, I had already landed a job as a sales-guy in a new LBS. I sold a motorcycle to afford 4 weeks of UBI -- Intro mechanics (1 week basic course), Pro/shop mechanics (2 week course), and the additional suspension/wheelbuilding classes (1week, total). The class made a difference in my life -- instead of straight sales, I got into a service/sales position, instead.

There was a younger crowd hoping to get into bike shops. There was an older crowd -- career changers or those already in the industry doing professional development. I think it was most suited for those already in the industry, looking for professional development, less useful opening doors for those looking to get in as a career start or outsiders looking to move from one career to another. Although it certainly didn't hurt to have the certificate.

For many, it was learning the correct way to do things they already knew. For some, it was their first exposure to many procedures, tools, and tech. One guy from S. Africa specifically wanted the certificate. I learned the value of a torque wrench, a few different tips and tricks, and how to build wheels. Otherwise, most of what they taught, I basically knew, although it was good to also find out what I'd been doing completely wrong for a long time...

With the OP's background, I'm thinking much of it would be boring, there would be useful bits and pieces to be picked up. But might be better served just by getting a mechanic job. I certainly learned a lot at UBI, but there's only so much that can be taught in 2,3, or 4 weeks -- I learned much, much more in my first year of employment as a mechanic. The UBI teaching, gave me a solid foundation, however, and just having attended landed me in a job more to my liking than was offered.

On top of which, Ashland is a fantastic place to hang out. I needed a break after a career switch and a month learning to wrench bikes in a hippie oasis was a nice change of scenery. The biking around town is fantastic, especially the mountain biking--bring your bike.

For me it ended up being about 1/3 vacation, 2/3 educational, and was very much worth it. For others? Some got a lot out of it, some not so much. Coming from a tech background like the OP, there will be disappointing aspects to it, offset by the vacation quality, the eventual certification, and the bike-specific things learned.

Once in the industry, I'd also recommend Part Tool School seminars, local/regional tech presentations by various manufacturers and distributors, and other learning opportunities like reps stopping by the shop.
I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.
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