Getting started in the skilled trades can be challenging; but, if HVAC Apprentices stick with it, not only will you be making bank, your experience and skill set as an Service Technician, Installer, or Gas Fitter will be sought after by employers everywhere…or you can choose to become your own boss!
Before you get ahead of yourself, you have to put in the work, invest in yourself and the trade (trade college, tools, etc.), and more importantly, learn from those more experienced in the trade. An experienced or senior tech will help you get started, but if you’re smart, you’ll build a lasting relationship – you never know when you’ll need their help, network of trades people/ suppliers, or their endorsement in the future.
Below are six tips HVAC/R Apprentices can do to impress their Journeyman Tech and not piss them off!
- ARRIVE ON TIME
Make sure to arrive on time at the job site – and when we say on time, we mean at the very least, 15 minutes early. If you’re scheduled to work for 7am, be there at 6:45am, anything after this, you’re considered late and already behind on work. You need that time to speak with your Journeyman to know what the job at hand is and get the tools and materials needed ready.
2. BE READY TO WORK
Great, you arrived on time – remember 15 minutes prior to your actual start time – congrats! Just make sure you are in a clear state of mind to actually work. Leave the shenanigans from the night before or your personal/relationship issues behind. Get a good night’s sleep so you’re not lethargic and avoid excessive partying the night before work. You are exposed to various chemicals, electrical units, and power tools, so your focus and concentration must be sharp. Trust me, your limbs and well-being will thank you for it. Safety first!
Be prepared with your tools of the trade and required PPE (safety boots, glasses, hard hats gloves, ear plugs, etc.). You won’t be much use to anyone if you don’t have these on hand. You’ll also quickly find out the childhood saying of sharing is caring does NOT apply to tools. Touching another techs tools, especially without their permission, is a HUGE no-no in any trade.
3. KNOW HOW TO USE YOUR TOOLS
It goes without saying; you have tools – know how to use them! Tools are a trade person’s biggest investment so apprentices should know what each tool is for and how to safely use them BEFORE you get on a job site. Money is time! Techs or customers don’t have time to wait while you watch a YouTube video on how and when to use a crescent wrench, refrigeration gauges, sawzall, tin snips…well you get the point.
4. DRESS APPROPRIATELY
We are unique and for some, enjoy standing out from the rest. However, I would not recommend making a fashion statement at work. The way to stand out to your HVAC Journeyman is through your work and work ethics, willingness to learn, and a positive attitude. Leave your skinny or ripped jeans at home, leggings, or latest fashion trend at home and wear appropriate work pants and shirts. Most companies provide their employees with uniforms to wear and brand the company, so wear that. If not, there are a variety of stores and online options, such as Walmart, Mark’s, Amazon, etc. where you can purchase from.
In addition to your work attire, keep your appearance clean and groomed. Long hair or beard? Awesome! But you’re not trying out for a Pantene commercial. Tie it back, tuck it in, and keep it out of your way – not only for appearances, but more importantly, for safety reasons.
5. WILLINGNESS TO LEARN
Be humble and understand there is a reason you’re working under that senior tech. Show up to work with an attitude to learn and absorb as much knowledge from them. While trades school can help build your foundation, it does not compare to the invaluable trade knowledge, and years of hands on experience your senior tech has and is willing to share with you. What you read and study in books is great, but what you’ll learn from your HVAC mentor is priceless.
So go ahead and be a sponge, absorb as much information as possible and when in doubt, ASK QUESTIONS! As an apprentice, this is no time to let your pride, ego, or fear of making a mistake of getting in the way of your journey of becoming a super tech. No matter what stage you are in your career, you never stop learning.
6. KEEP THE JOB SITE CLEAN
Apprentices, you are there to learn the tricks of the trade, refine your troubleshooting and diagnostic skills; however, there will be many times where you are not able to actively assist in the service or maintenance. Take the initiative to:
- keep the area clean and organized;
- put away unused tools or hand your tech the required tools so they don’t have to keep going back and forth;
- pick up and properly dispose of old parts or equipment (i.e. compressors, pumps, condenser motors, etc.) whenever possible.
Keeping the job site clean and organized may not be glamorous, but, it’s a necessary ‘evil’ that will go a long way with your Journeyman and help build good work habits that will last throughout your career.
Hopefully, HVAC Apprentices found these tips useful. A career in HVAC is an excellent and rewarding choice and one that you will never find yourself unemployed! Whether you’re looking for a new job opportunity or to hire techs, installers, or fitters, get in contact with Rockstar HVAC at [email protected] or toll free at 1-833-937-3546 and we’ll be happy to help!