The Locksmith – A Trade For The 21st Century?

While it may not appear to be the case, the locksmith trade is a very ancient one; the oldest known lock is approximately 4,000 years old and is of Egyptian origin. The first “pin and tumbler” key based lock (which is still used today) is over 2,500 years old and originated from the time of the Assyrian empire.

For thousands of years then, locksmiths have been working hard to protect and secure items of value from those who would acquire them nefariously. Of course, early locksmiths were incredibly skilled technicians and even artisans, having to build the entire lock mechanism and the matching keys from scratch, by hand (the term “smith” in “locksmith” comes from “blacksmith”; someone who works with metal, usually using a forge). Today, of course, this is no longer the case – locks are no longer built by hand – with the exception perhaps of high security vaults and strong boxes, which may be custom-built and designed based on the needs of the customer.

Despite the fact that today’s locksmith is no longer building custom locks from “scratch”, the job still requires a unique skill set and specialized job training, largely because of the increased integration of digital technology into the security sector. A professionally trained locksmith is expected to be extremely flexible; able to work with numerous high-tech systems – such as monitoring and maintaining high-tech access control systems employed by major corporations and government agencies or working with vehicles equipped with transponders.

Because of the obvious tie in to security, some locksmiths may even work as security consultants, developing layers of security for their clients in alliance with their needs (since even the best locks will only delay an intruder for a limited amount of time, these security consultants will build a unique combination of locks, policies and strategies in order to defeat the potential intruder, ensuring the longest possible period of delay).

A skilled locksmith can choose several specialized fields of study. In addition to the aforementioned security consultant, opportunities exist for forensic locksmiths (who do investigative work and often work with law enforcement), automotive lock specialists, safe and vault technicians and master key systems specialists. All these fields offer additional offer the prospective locksmith new opportunity for personal challenge, long term-job security, and lucrative pay.

Anyone interested in becoming a locksmith has several options. The first is to train as an apprentice with a certified master locksmith. Apprenticeships offer opportunities not afforded by regular training; it’s real, “on the job, outside the classroom training”, plus you have the ability to earn a salary as you learn. Other options are traditional schooling; formal training through trade or vocational schools, or an online accredited resource. The three most common levels of certification include Certified Registered Locksmith, Certified Professional Locksmith, and Certified Master Locksmith.

Despite the fact that it’s a career three millennia in age, there has never been a more interesting and challenging time to become a locksmith with credible training! This trade based career offers flexibility, challenge, lucrative pay, long-term sustainability, and the opportunity to become self-employed.

Is DaimlerChrysler Facing Divorce?

It was a marriage heard around the world. In November 1998, a stunning $36 billion merger was perfected between Daimler Benz, the German manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz luxury cars, and Chrysler Corp., the all-American maker of Jeeps and minivans. However, on Wednesday, when DaimlerChrysler announced it was cutting 13,000 jobs in the United States, analysts anticipated a possible divorce.

The union rocked the global automotive world and provided a draft for the international consolidation. After the exchange of rings in 1998, J├╝rgen Schrempp, the chairman of the board for the brand new company DaimlerChrysler said that the marriage was a “match made in heaven.” But this assumption may no longer stay the same. On Valentine’s Day, Mercedes workers received bulky bonuses while DaimlerChrysler announced 13,000 job cuts in the United States. This is the reason why critics in the industry are predicting that the couple could be heading to divorce court.

The couple underwent relationship troubles in the past. However, the worst blow happened on Valentine’s Day when it announced a massive cut of 13,000 jobs over the next three years at Chrysler in the United States. The slashing of jobs is required by its restructuring plan, which is aimed at alleviating the standing of the automaker in the auto industry.

There has been an apparent shift of market from large vehicles to small, sleek and fuel-efficient cars. This fact has troubled the automaker much; it had difficulty turning a profit in previous years primarily because it has great reliance on huge SUVs. Last year, Chrysler reported a loss of about $1.4 billion; hence the desire to reduce the work force to return to profitability by next year. “We believe that this represents a solid plan to return to profitability and lay the groundwork for a solid future,” said Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda.

Mercedes in Germany and Chrysler in the United States are taking different paths. On Wednesday while Mercedes announced its 132,000 workers would each receive a EUR2,000 bonus as a result of 2006 profits; Chrysler announced job cuts, plant closures and shift reductions. The Mercedes bonus is twice as high as the one following 2005.

Chrysler’s troubles, on the other hand, are immense. Earlier, DaimlerChrysler management said that divorce was not an option but on Wednesday, Dieter Zetsche, DaimlerChrysler CEO said that all options were being looked at and that a sale of the US-based automaker could not be ruled out. When asked about the company’s future plans Zetsche declined to comment. “I cannot and will not go into any further detail about the announcement we made today,” Zetsche said at the Michigan press conference.

A divorce between Daimler Benz and Chrysler would mean the end of the 1998 dreams that has earlier rocked the industry. Schrempp even envisioned adding a Japanese automaker in the alliance to create the world’s biggest auto manufacturing company worldwide. However, difficulties started pouring in and the company’s performance became less than impressive.

Analysts also said extending the marriage could pose greater difficulties. This is because it is hard for the couple to produce entirely different vehicles. Mercedes ventures on a luxury brand image and high quality reputation, but Chrysler focuses on volume; with astounding competition on the side. As such, its vehicles have to be more affordable than its rivals to have a chance – hardly an excellent foundation for a life-long union. Critics concluded that they have to step on the brakes or lose their chance to bloom separate ways.

Mitsubishi – Still a Contender

I used to work with a guy who told me that his wife worked for Colt Cars in Cirencester England. I remember at the time saying to him “Who the hell are they!” Which I suppose was a bit impolite but I thought I knew most car manufacturers and had never heard of them. Luckily he ignored my rudeness and explained that Colt Cars were a joint venture with Mitsubishi Motors, who I had heard of, and were established largely for the purposes of importing and distributing Mitsubishi vehicles in the UK.

I had forgotten that Britain used to have strict import quotas on foreign vehicles in a vain attempt to protect British manufacturers from the threat to their market from foreign imports. It wasn’t until the British public realised that British cars were in fact useless that they started buying foreign cars by the thousand which spelled the end of the road for the majority of UK manufacturers, sad but true.

There was a small backlash from people of a certain generation against buying foreign cars particularly Japanese ones but when their Morris Maxi’s and Marinas finally rusted into oblivion they begrudgingly grasped the nettle and now wouldn’t be seen driving anything other than a Micra or Yaris or indeed a Mitsubishi Colt.

Mitsubishi have had mixed fortunes over the years with some successful models and of course you can’t really mention Mitsubishi without talking about their successes with the Ralliart division and the whole Evolution phenomenon. Aside from this though the history of Mitsubishi is quite complex and they have had business partnerships with companies you would not have expected, notably Volvo and Daimler Chrysler to name but two.

Mitsubishi Corporation is a huge concern in Japan of which Mitsubishi Motors are a subsidiary of and with a history that dates back as far as 1917. The logo of three red diamonds, which is shared with over forty other companies within the group, predates Mitsubishi Motors itself by nearly a century. It was chosen by Yataro Iwasaki who was the founder of Mitsubishi. Apparently it represented the emblem of the Tosa Clan who first employed him and because his own family crest was three diamonds stacked one on top of the other. The name Mitsubishi is an amalgamation of Mitsu (“three”) and Hishi (literally meaning “water chestnut”, which is often used in Japanese to denote a diamond or rhombus).

Mitsubishi are currently the seventh largest car manufacturer in Japan and seventeenth in the world which puts them as fairly large but not huge by any standards. Mitsubishi’s main problem has been a lack of models to choose from but in the last few years they have worked hard to address this and now have a fairly large range covering most sectors of the market.

After working with Chrysler since the 1970′s Mitsubishi were then involved with Daimler Chrysler until around 2005. They have also had alliances with Proton and Hyundai but now after some quite drastic financial reorganisation the company seems to be more settled and were able to reveal the award winning I model in 2006. The new Mitsubishi Lancer has been received favourably and Mitsubishi has joined up with PSA Peugeot Citroen to produce the 4007 and C-Crosser which are SUV vehicles based on the Mitsubishi Outlander. The Outlander itself boasts favourable fuel economy combined with the lowest C02 emissions in its class.

The Shogun or Pajero whose name is rumoured to be rude in Spanish is another vehicle which has ensured Mitsubishi’s success over the years. The latest version is far more refined and is now pitched at the luxury SUV market.

A lesser known fact about Mitsubishi is that Jackie Chan has had a long association with the company so with him on their side I guess they will always be a contender!