Preparedness as a Trades Person

hvac tech at work

So, planning on finding (or starting) a “fulfilling” career in the trades…? Wait a second, let me edit <fulfilling> to “prepared” career in the trades.

Don’t get me wrong, the trades can be VERY fulfilling; However, that’s not a guarantee – it’s up to you to make it fulfilling. Enough of the philosophical, let’s make sense of this & get to the point.

Many believe long gone are the days of simply getting your trade license & finding a well paying job in the trades. This is not entirely true…I believe (to some degree) that day really never was. I’d like to argue that tradespeople of the past probably invested a bit more in themselves than what we thought.

Perhaps, part of this was because of a “days gone by” attitude that some entering the trades mistake today for entitlement. (Hold the tomatoes, I said “some”…;)

For example, purchasing tools (beside some small hand tools) – something most young techs expect to “get” today from a employer, & many do offer them – reducing the investment into oneself. Perhaps, included is the willingness to “start from the bottom” with little pay -“sticking with one employer”, exchanging one’s time for “*learning & earning“. Opportunity is earned through education & experience, a responsibility discussed further below. These are the things that help build security in what my father would have probably call a “guaranteed job“. Today, the only security that exists is in one self. If you’ve invested in yourself, you’ll likely always be secure.

I believe many young Techs are not sure what to invest in & may be a bit “disillusioned”; Part of this with fault to employers, part of this with fault to trade schools, & part of this with fault to oneself. Things have changed in the trades & we have not done a great job in helping prepare new techs with many of these new skills.

What you’ll need to invest in are things that were likely not part of the curriculum years ago. For example, a new focus on communication, customer service, & sales training; While others, remain the same. “Dad” always said it began with the “right attitude” & willingness to “slug it out“… Unfortunately, that of which many today are unwilling to do – expecting “greatness” once graduation day comes, only to be sadly mistaken. Perhaps, this is in part due to a “false illusion” & security provided by the trade schools of today.

As prior mentioned, communication & sales skills is one of those VERY necessary things for a new tradesperson to invest in. This starts with having the right attitude; Including, reading & learning about what “today’s employer” expects, or needs. I highly recommend in getting some help with this and enrolling in a professionally structured course that teaches these ever-so important skills for today’s techs. Many organizations offer such courses, Service Excellence Training is one of them, a link can be found here.

Companies in the trades are struggling for qualified tradespeople, often young inexperienced techs feel overlooked, & trade schools build a curriculum that does little to nothing to really prepare & encourage steps to make oneself desirable (& more experienced) as a new tradesmen.

We all know there is a problem with the system today & it is hard to pinpoint where the “breakdown” started, but does it really matter? What does matter is what one does to overcome the obstacles.

Here’s a great video that helps summarize just one of those things I am talking about. It will take about 9 mins of your time to watch it, but it can be one of the some of the most important time spent when it comes to preparing yourself for your future.

As always, your future is your future alone – you set the course & effort you intend to invest in it.

Preparedness is the start.

*”Learning & Earning” is a phrase used by Todd Liles at Service Excellence Training.

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