From a student's point of view...

I just graduated this spring, over the last year and half I look back at my training/education. We had simulators (don't know what brand), but they never worked right and made little sense to me. You just can't beat working on real equipment. Lights and buzzers are no match for seeing a motor not turning or a frosted evaporator. We had new refrigerators and furnaces that we completely took apart and put back together. We had to identify parts and what they did. Nothing is better for someone who is new to electricity than to stand in front of a 90+ furnace with a hand full of wires and have to put them all back correctly. We had no shortage of equipment to work on. People would bring in their refrigerators and window ac's and we would fix them. It was a win/win for everyone. Then there were the field trips to install/fix equipment. Non-profit stuff like volountary fire depts and habitat for humanity. Just a look from the students side.