What do you look for in a new tech. ? ( Your input is desperatly needed )
Just what exactly would you that work in the trade like to see in a new tech. fresh out of school ? What kind of training did you yourself get that you feal was of great benefit to you in getting that first shot in your careers and if your currently an owner or will someday be an owner of an HVAC company what would ask for if you could get your tech. custom trained to your own specs ? ( Barring gender,race or looks ). I work at a non profit teaching HVAC students and we have to compete with all the $9000.00 to $35,000.00 for profit schools and I really need you guy's profesional opinions to get to the point where I can get these trainees employable and productive. Please respond as many times as you like if you come up with some good advice for us later down the road. Thanks to everyone in advance !
You have an impossible task. If you are nationally accredited I'm assuming you have to teach entirely too much of everything - not really sure how that works. You would be in a better position to tell us. But I spent a lot of time learning stuff I just don't use and I don't think there is any way around it. Afterall - how does any program know just what type of job the student will get? Installer, service...both? New construction tinner, boiler/chiller outfit? Refrigeration?
Had I known what I was going to end up as (residential service) I would have selected Electricity, Advanced Heating and AC and troubleshooting, troubleshooting, troubleshooting. An entire semester of troubleshooting. With all that other stuff I was mandated to learn I had about a week of troubleshooting. I was ill prepared to be placed in a servie van so quickly and had to learn fast.
I've honestly learned more practical things from this site, even when folks are disagreeing, then I ever did in school.
I think the individual must have a electro-mechanical aptitude. Meaning, they are that kid who was taking stuff apart at age 5, and putting it together at age 6.
He must be curious about everything.
He must have above-average intelligence, so that he can deduce a problem to a solution.
He must be willing to put safety first.
He must be willing to work late, and in bad weather, and not skip because the girlfriend is waiting, and it's Friday.
He should be neat, and clean cut, and smell clean to customers.
If inked, it should be hidden.
And he must be able to call without hesitation when he does not understand something, after a reasonable amount of time spent trying to figure it out.
And he must call with pressures and temps, and SH and SC.
Is that enough?
[Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
2 Tim 3:16-17
RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist
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I agree with hurtinghvac. There's so many different areas to specialize in when it comes to the HVAC industry. I attended a tech school in high school and I found that to be a good universal stepping stone for me. The best training imo is to be tied to a seasoned tech for 2-3 years for the best results. During that time have alot of eletrical, refrigeration and installation training. GL!
You cannot "custom train" me a tech.
Only many years of field experience can do that.
Teach them good fundamentals.
DON'T teach them that they're learning EVERYTHING in trade school.
Teach them that they know nothing and that they will never know everything.
Send 'em out to us and we'll handle the rest.
I've said it a hundred times on here......stay off the phone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Unless you're googling a manual or searching for information. Everyday is a life/death matter, wondering what whoever is texting you is saying and end up hurt or dead.
I think troubleshooting is a good start, electricity too. I started the trade with zero electric knowledge, as a commercial construction guy when I started I remember getting shocked while removing a light, I had to ask a guy how I turn the power off to it, when I watched him turn the switch off I was very embarrassed. I have came a long way since then but mostly learning on my own, that is one area I wish I had better training in still.
The guys I see out of school were just as worse off, one guy could figure out how to jump out a Tstat, then finally made the call the board was bad, well when I got there I found it was just a bad ignitor lol. I could go on and on with other story but I won't. Just make them be able to troubleshoot.
Show up on time
Be able to communicate CLEARLY with customers and fellow employees
Knows "Righty tighty lefty loosey"
They need to be honest, but not too honest
The reality is, at least in my experience, the success rate in this industry is low with new techs and dispatchers. The work we do takes away family time and social time. When the call comes in at 1:00am and your ol'lady starts *****ing or the call comes in on Saturday and you have to miss your kids football game and the ol' lady starts *****ing, or you have dinner plans and a drive in cooler takes a crap and the ol' lady starts *****ing, or I have a bass fishing tournament with my son and I have to get someone to run the call for me because it's all about priorities.
Someone who can budget their money. Meaning, someone who can work 60 hours a week for half the year and budget their money to pay bills the other half of the year when they are working 25 hours a week.
In the commercial end of the business, most guys will start out as install helpers, coil cleaners, or drivers. How they interact with the journeymen can have a big impact on their future. Alot of guys come out of school act like premadonnas. I'm proud to say it took me 15 years to become a premadonna. (In reality, I'm just an ass who doesn't care what people think)
Officially, Down for the count
YOU HAVE TO GET OFF YOUR ASS TO GET ON YOUR FEET
It was working when I left...
Liberalism-Ideas so good they mandate them
Thanks for the input ! I really want to get these guys jobs in the trade and I have been given the freedom to build this program almost from scratch.It seams as if most shops are residential just because of the number of homes versus commercial sites. I am going to hit them hard on troubleshooting and will maybe rob some time from other classes that these guys may never use .
I love this site ! thanks for you feedback! with your input I am going to try and build the best damn training program to compete with those big dollar schools You are unofficially part of my advisory council.Your input will have lasting effects on my trainees as I get the ready to enter the job market. I am going to place heavy emphasis on good grooming,communication and customer service.
I have been racking my brain trying to come up with a diplomatic and positive answer.
Here is what I got...
There is no such thing as a ready to go canned service technician. What we normally get out of the schools that cost tens of thousands is a young smart ass that thinks he already knows it all and needs to be seriously humbled up before they can be taught anything of value (please no one take any offense).
That being said, most of them are very weak in basic electrical troubleshooting and know way too much about 30 year old refrigeration metering methods.
The problem being is that less than 10% of anything they will be working on has anything to do with the refrigeration cycle.
I am coming from a commercial and industrial side of things, so this may not be 100% all applicable to what you are trying to achieve, but the basics are the basics from a 12,000 BTU window shaker to a 2500 ton centrifugal chiller.
We have had some awesome apprentices come out of these schools, but in all honesty, their attitudes need to be put in check more often than not.
Where I am going with this is to first teach that there are many people in the trades that while they may not have been fortunate enough to have gone to the trade schools, have screwed up a ton of stuff and know how to get themselves out of a jamb, that is where the real learning is done. I know that there are very few people on this site that have not learned some valuable lessons when they made a major boo boo and those will never be forgotten. You can tell me how to build a rocket, but I bet I would have to build ten of them before I can get one to not crash into my neighbors house....
Focus on electrical, basic mechanical knowledge (sheave ratios, fan laws, pump laws, use of tools and safety), basic combustion troubleshooting and don't forget test and balance.
As long as I get a newbie that understands what side of the knife can cut him/her and knows that everything around them can kill/hurt them and know when to ask questions and know when to simply shut up and listen, I'm a happy guy.
What I don't want is some wise guy that wont ask questions and spend three hours digging into a control problem because he went to school and knows he can figure it out.
I know it sounds like I am being pretty hard on the trade schools, for that I apologize, but at the same time there is no substitute for spending some time in the field perfecting their craft.
Your biggest challenge is the vast quantity of types of equipment out there these days, there is no way you can scratch the surface of what is available out there, but the basics apply to all of them.
In closing, most of us are mechanics that dabble in electrical and get to play with chemicals and flammable gases. Sometimes making slop count the same as skill...
I applaud what you are trying to do and wish you the best success possible.
If this offends anyone, here is some advice... Grow a thicker skin.
If a day goes by and you have learned nothing, I hope you got a lot of sleep.
Originally Posted by jpsmith1cm
Also mention to them if they feel like they are not getting anywhere, to jump ship, if your not being challenged on a daily basis, you are wasting your time. I can remember being a dumb apprentice and going to the supply houses to get as much reading material as I could carry just to make myself more comfortable around the journeyman. I could talk the talk, but learning to walk the walk took some pretty skilled service people. For that I am, very grateful.
If a day goes by and you have learned nothing, I hope you got a lot of sleep.
I'd make them get Ohm's law tattooed on their foreheads. I would want my guys to have intimate knowledge of VFD's, ECM's and the newer communicating, networked stuff.
The picture in my avatar is of the Houston Ship Channel and was taken from my backyard. I like to sit outside and slap mosquitos while watching countless supertankers, barges and cargo ships of every shape and size carry all sorts of deadly toxins to and fro. It's really beautiful at times.....just don't eat the three eyed fish....
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