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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    105

    "What if you get run over by a bus"

    Today I was given the task of trainning someone to do the “software” side of my job. The timeframe one year. I currently work with Tridium Branded “X” and Lon based controllers. I also have sites with different types of integrations of different Lon, BacNet, Modbus, and N2 devices. A mix of new constructions jobs, retrofits for energy savings and updates. A few systems not installed by us, but I modified logic and sequences for customers needs. Typical commercial buildings & schools, boiler plant, chillers, VAV, FCU, etc. A few process systems and critical areas. Some hospital work. You know the mix. We are “indirect” meaning we are just sold parts and software with no tech support from Brand “X”. I rely on sleepless nights, drums of coffee, the sheer power of curiosity, and of course you guys to get through the challenges. The person selected for me to train has about 20 years in as a sheetmetal mechanic and fabricator. He is also a certified balancer. He is a good guy but I am not sure he knows how to use a voltmeter or read a wiring diagram. No big deal, neither did I when I started. It is all a learned skill set. It has taken me 15 years mixed with a few in service, and weeks (probably months) worth of different training and certification classes to get me to today. Right now there is no commitment on any type of outside structured training or certifications, just OTJ. I have to put together agenda for this training. Where would you begin? Thoughts on this? Can this be done successfully in the given timeframe?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Eugene, Oregon
    Posts
    1,018
    Make sure you let him drive with you guiding. If he stands behind you looking over your shoulder watching you work, he won't absorb anything. Start with the 10,000 ft view and then work your way down into the specifics. Once he has some of the basics down start assigning him simple task to do on his own with you mentoring him. He won't learn anything if you do all the work for him.
    I don't think one year is enough. I would think it would take at least 2 years to develop core competency. And that's with a structured training path.
    Good luck.
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten". --Benjamin Franklin
    "Don't argue with an idiot, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience". --Mark Twain
    http://www.campbellmechanical.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Hampton Roads, Virginia
    Posts
    1,599
    It all depends on the guy, he has to be motivated to learn, or rather he needs the passion to succeed in the controls world. Unfortunately if he is not upto the task, it may be you that gets the "blame" for his failure.

    Kevin
    "Profit is not the legitimate purpose of business. The legitimate purpose of business is to provide a product or service that people need and do it so well that it's profitable."

    James Rouse

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Amarillo by mornin'
    Posts
    853
    I will be very surprised if he will be up to speed in one year! He's got one thing going for him though being an ex-balancer. If he is TAB certified that means he knows how the system as a whole is supposed to work, and he should know how to use a volt meter. I remember when I first made the switch and seeing what all was involved. SO, SO much more involved than I originally thought, it was somewhat overwhelming. I would set some minimum goals for him and put him on some kind of probationary period. You'll find out pretty quick if he's got the hook in him or not.
    "It's not that I'm smart, it's that I stay with the problem longer”
    Albert Einstein

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    204
    I tell the new guys that it takes 2 years to feel comfortable enough to spread their wings.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,666
    1 year for training and the guy is not up to speed with wiring diagrams......I think your higher ups need a reality check.
    Propagating the formula. http://www.noagendashow.com/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    Posts
    3,871
    The Boss "what if you get hit by a bus"

    Me "Heres a list of guys on HVAC-Talk I would recommend"

    Quote Originally Posted by MatrixTransform View Post
    very soon it is you that will be pwned

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    274
    i can tell you right now that you were given the wrong candidate !!

    The successful, candidate, will spent thousands of hours of personal, unpaid time trying to learn the trade on his own and will use you, his mentor, only in case he gets stuck and needs to know which way to go.

    Anyone who has to be spoon fed to this trade will fail very quickly once on his own !!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    105
    Thanks guys for your input so far. The 10,000 foot view is a different way of starting. In the past, the training and mentoring I have been involved in always started at the bottom with install basics and up from there. It has always been hard for me when things start coming off the rails and deadline are coming up fast to not just grab the wheel and drive. I guess it was about 2-3 years before they would “turn out”, but that included structured training in-house and offsite. A point I tried to make to everyone involved is getting someone to do what I do is a matter of time, commitment, and passion. I believe it is a career change, a new trade. At least if the goal is to do my job and not just understand controls. Another concern is resources both in-house and external were not consulted before this got rolling or even thrown out on the table. We may not be dealing with reality on reality’s terms here.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    623
    Quote Originally Posted by exwtk View Post
    i can tell you right now that you were given the wrong candidate !!

    The successful, candidate, will spent thousands of hours of personal, unpaid time trying to learn the trade on his own and will use you, his mentor, only in case he gets stuck and needs to know which way to go.

    Anyone who has to be spoon fed to this trade will fail very quickly once on his own !!
    My thoughts and feelings exactly. The learning curve on this stuff is more like cliff climbing, sometimes you go up and backwards at the same time.
    Scott Jalbert
    Harris Integrated Solutions

    Formerly Liebert (Emerson Network Power)
    Expressed opinions are my own

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Huntsville, AL
    Posts
    395
    I agree that letting him get is hands on this stuff is the best approach. I remember when I was in training, the guy that trained me just wanted me to sit over his shoulder and watch and I would get so bored that I would start getting sleepy and would have to get up and walk around to stay awake but when he started letting me drive is when I really started to learn. I also think it is a good idea to let him spend a few weeks on a construction site helping guys pull wire so that he can get a feel of how the wiring is done because there is nothing worse than facing a communications issue and not knowing how these things are wired up. All that being said it is also going to take some initiative on his part, controls is not a 8hr a day job, it is a 24hr 7 days a week job. When I was training someone I would let them drive up until I realized I better get in there if we wanted to go home on time that day.


    Im like a mushroom, they keep me in the dark and feed me crap.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    383
    Wow training? My first day I was given some books, an ancient laptop and a set of drawings with an address.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    459
    When it applies to Control Technicians I always use the 80 - 20 rule. In my experience only 20% of the people who try to make it in controls have the desire. It takes a smart, driven, obsessive, and motivated person who hates to be defeated. The type of person who feels like the real learning starts after they get off work. The person who has a complete mock control system in their garage. Someone who reads multiple books on motors and motor controls, electrical fundamentals, refigeration, boilers, etc...Someone who reads HVAC-TALK

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