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How important is continuing education as a tradesman?

By Kevin Bartley, Division Manager with Nexus 5 Group

Pete Seeger is an American Folk singer that once asked the question, "Do you know the difference between education and experience? Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don’t."

From a tradesman's point of view, their job takes both education and experience to be the best and to succeed. Even though lessons are learned in the field, the education part is invaluable. Continuing education is important to both the company and the employee to set themselves apart from the competition.

Everyone knows that technology is constantly changing, but who thinks about how the HVAC business has evolved over the last 30 years? All of this new technology that has improved the way we do business and made us more efficient in our lives has impacted the HVAC Industry in the same manner. This evolution in the industry has caused a boom in continuing education.

As companies produce the newest, latest and greatest equipment, it's on the technician to learn that technology. If they don't, the technician can become less valuable to the company and decrease their chances of advancement. Most companies provide training for specialized equipment in their specific field. But how does the technician know where to find this information? Through continuing education and specialized training courses.

Knowledge is the monument of the trades, no matter what trade it is.

Specifically speaking, the HVAC industry has changed so much over the last 30 years, that if the technician didn't evolve, they would now be out of a job. When a young person comes and asks me how to get into the trade, there's always two answers to that question.

Answer number one: Go to school and get the basics of the trade to move forward.

Answer number two: Get into that trade as quickly as possible. Even if they desire to be an HVAC Technician, take a low level job to just get into the trade. The HVAC installer is not the most glorious job, but it paves the way through experience. It is very easy to take advancements once you are in the trade.

Over the years, I've had techs right out of school with no experience and they struggle to find their way. On the flip side, I've had techs start in a trade with no schooling whatsoever and they tend to have the same struggles. But when a combination of both education and experience is applied, that same technician advances at a much higher rate.

Here at Nexus 5 Group, we push for education.

Whether it's an in-house training session with the superintendents, factory training or trade school of their choice, we will support them in every way. I've made a deal with any technician in our field staff that we will pay for any additional training that they wish to pursue. We encourage the advancement opportunity in each of the fields. For example, we recently had two employees start their studies at a local trade school. One of them in HVAC and one in electrical courses. At Nexus 5 Group, we know our investment in educating our team members will provide significant dividends down the line!

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