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#178073 - 05/22/08 04:42 PM Teaching apprentices
twh Offline
Member

Registered: 03/11/04
Posts: 892
Loc: Regina, Sask.
I put my green apprentice to work mounting boxes and I turned away with the drawings to mark more outlet locations. I stepped back from a wall and bumped into him. He was standing right behind me, watching. He explained that he wanted to learn my job, and didn't see how mounting boxes would do that.

How do you guys balance teaching co-workers with getting the job done? Do I actually have to mount boxes when my apprentice mounts boxes, or should we be mounting the same box?

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#178083 - 05/22/08 06:45 PM Re: Teaching apprentices [Re: twh]
BryanInBalt Offline
Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 47
Loc: Baltimore
See one. Do one (thousand). Teach one (hundred).

After you slap the punk...
Ask yourself if you really showed him well enough to know what he needs to do the task right.
Then ask him if he really understands.
Then have him explain how as if you didn't know anything.

If you need to repeat this process too often...
one of you doesn't belong in their job.


Edited by Trumpy (05/24/08 12:05 AM)
Edit Reason: Removed profane language

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#178089 - 05/22/08 08:41 PM Re: Teaching apprentices [Re: BryanInBalt]
gfretwell Offline

Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9012
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
You need to explain this is on the job training, not a school and right now the job is mounting boxes. When all the boxes are mounted in an acceptable manner we can do something else. I do lean toward the side of "merit" based programs vs some rigid schedule because all apprentices are not created equal and some guys will be ready for the big time sooner than others. I would not be in favor of dribbling out the knowledge because it wasn't it wasn't their turn. You still need to respect the needs of the business tho. Sometimes it is the grunt work that you need right then.
_________________________
Greg Fretwell

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#178098 - 05/23/08 05:39 AM Re: Teaching apprentices [Re: gfretwell]
ghost307 Offline
Member

Registered: 05/09/05
Posts: 877
Loc: Chicago Illinois USA
One day I overheard an apprentice ask his foreman why he got stuck bending conduit while the foreman got to trim out the MCC.

The foreman's answer was a classic "Because I already KNOW how to bend conduit".

Kinda says it all, doesn't it?
_________________________
Ghost307

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#178128 - 05/23/08 09:07 PM Re: Teaching apprentices [Re: ghost307]
ChicoC10 Offline
Member

Registered: 05/30/07
Posts: 169
Loc: CA
I know if I said the same thing to my boss at that period in my training he would have asked me if I would like to keep my job another day. His company, merit shop. Bitch slap!!!

After I was perfectly and I do mean perfectly clear on that concept he would have offered a challenge.
If I could outbox him while meeting the expected quality standard he would show me the next step and so on.

He wouldn't have me doing anything over my head unattended but he was perfectly willing to have us both preforming the same task together if the situation allowed and we were kicking butt. He loved Q-rise you get when a team performs better than the individuals could by themselves.

He led by example whenever possible and made it clear that the progression of my education was directly tied to my will to perform, as it should be.

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#178130 - 05/24/08 12:29 AM Re: Teaching apprentices [Re: twh]
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8530
Loc: SI,New Zealand
As far as I can see, you guys have no idea about training an apprentice, have any of you actually taken the time to give your own skills and experience to someone entering the trade?

Comments like BIB gave would tend to suggest a lack of "people skills", this sort of thing would suggest a short-sighted idea of apprentice training.

There is absolutely NO need for any animosity(sp??) towards apprentices, just remember when you did your time, if you got that treatment, why inflict that on the next generation?

I have successfully trained both Electrical and Line Mechanic apprentices, no need for talk the likes of "I'm your Supervisor/Boss, you should already know what I'm talking about"
An apprenticeship is hard enough to do, with night school and what-not.

An employer/ Supervisor with a bad attitude, only compounds things.

Apprentices need attention at the first stage of their work, they will be forever doing work like you show them, if your work is rubbish, that will be instilled into the apprentice.
_________________________
Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

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#178135 - 05/24/08 05:33 AM Re: Teaching apprentices [Re: Trumpy]
GA76JW Offline
Member

Registered: 03/20/04
Posts: 195
Loc: Suwanee, GA USA
I am finally reching the end of my apprenticeship. I have less than 6 months before the first stages of my schooling is officially over. I say first stages because I see too many people that think they know it all and never need to learn anything else. I differ on that point, but I digress.

I have had the chance to have apprentices working with me. The biggest problem I see is their lack of motivation. I have discussed with many JW's and Foreman how to get them motivated. Unfortunately, the simple fact is, most of these guys are just here for a paycheck and see no farther ahead than what they are doing this evening.

For example, I have a 24 yo GREEN apprentice working with me now. He has a very limited attention span and contiually says "do what" after any directives are given. No matter how simple or mundane they are or how many times he has performed the same task. He has no will to succede. I find it very challenging to "make" him want to do this. He was canned from his prior job and came over to us cause he needed to work, and I guess we just needed some bodies on the job.

I know it's just not me, cause others we have worked around have mentioned they don't see him making it thru the apprenticeship. Now I am by no means the perfect apprentice, but I am at work everyday, on time, and I generally like the people I work with and the work we do.

I think the biggest part of this, is too many young people want to take the "short track" to a good job. Most of them have no idea what "put your time in" means. As a 1st year apprentice I hated cleaning up after grown men who couldn't throw stuff away, but I learned from it and I believe it made me better. I always clean up after myself now.

And as far as the comments about slapping them, that doesn't work either. I have worked around many a JW and the ones who are all macho and tough, don't last long. They are seen as problems. The company I work for has a very good crew of level headed guys. Sure there are things that irritate them at times, but the bigger man keeps his cool and finds a way to work things out.

I guess in short, the apprentice either wants to do this or they don't. There is no fool proof solution that will work for the masses. It all boils down to motivation.
_________________________
"If common sense was common, everyone would have it"-not sure, someone here


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#178136 - 05/24/08 05:33 AM Re: Teaching apprentices [Re: Trumpy]
twh Offline
Member

Registered: 03/11/04
Posts: 892
Loc: Regina, Sask.
 Originally Posted By: Trumpy
have any of you actually taken the time to give your own skills and experience to someone entering the trade?

I've been a journeyman for 28 years and I often work with an apprentice. Lots of them are now journeymen and lots have left the trade.

When I went to school, an instructor explained that they quit teaching trouble-shooting, because some people can do it and some can't. I've learned that's true in other areas. Some people can't carry a stick of 4 inch rigid. Some can't bend conduit. Some can't wire a three-way switch. Some are afraid of heights. Some people can't get to work in time to get in the truck, some can't get to work some days, and some take drugs at work. I had one apprentice refuse to wear safety glasses. Not everyone is going to be an electrician.

For an apprentice's first month on the job, I lose time. I can do the job faster, alone. I expect to carry the apprentice for another 5 months - it would be cheaper to pay me to do the work than to have the apprentice do it at less than half speed. I spend the time and the customer pays for it.

Here's a real-life example. An apprentice with a pre-employment course: He worked with other journeymen in our shop. After 6 months, they wrote him off, and I took him for another 8 months. They all explained three way switching to him, as did I - four or five times. We ran EMT, ENT, PVC, NMD, BX, Teck and ACWU. We mounted boxes and pulled wire. After more than a year in the trade, he taught me something - EMT will fit in a BX connector. He left the trade on his own, but I really did try.

Trumpy, if you haven't had an apprentice with limitations, you are either very lucky, or someone else is looking after that part of your job. Have you ever sent someone home for refusing to wear safety glasses? For fighting? For drugs? How about an apprentice with a learning disability? Do your apprentices miss work because they're in jail?

It's hard to balance an apprentices need for training with a customer's need to get the equipment running. How can I teach someone about a VFD if the only time I see one it's broken? My journeyman's licence didn't come with an instruction manual. In fact, when I went to school, motor speed control was DC or wound rotor.

It's enough to get attitude from an apprentice, but from you, too, Trumpy? By the way, what's this "night-school" stuff?

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#178137 - 05/24/08 05:46 AM Re: Teaching apprentices [Re: twh]
judsin Offline
Member

Registered: 04/19/08
Posts: 24
Loc: SC
 Originally Posted By: twh
When I went to school, an instructor explained that they quit teaching trouble-shooting, because some people can do it and some can't. I've learned that's true in other areas. Some people can't carry a stick of 4 inch rigid. Some can't bend conduit. Some can't wire a three-way switch. Some are afraid of heights. Some people can't get to work in time to get in the truck, some can't get to work some days, and some take drugs at work. I had one apprentice refuse to wear safety glasses. Not everyone is going to be an electrician.

That's got to be the best summary of personal limitations in the electrical trade I've read. It's exactly like that too, some guys stay in the trade forever and never figure out certain things.

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#178141 - 05/24/08 06:22 AM Re: Teaching apprentices [Re: Trumpy]
BryanInBalt Offline
Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 47
Loc: Baltimore
 Originally Posted By: Trumpy
Comments like BIB gave would tend to suggest a lack of "people skills", this sort of thing would suggest a short-sighted idea of apprentice training.


Maybe I should have added a cute smiley to the first line.
Maybe some of it is a 'lost across the ocean' thing.
Maybe I could have expanded with a screen full of detail.

Whatever it may have been, I'll stand by what I wote.
_________________________
Design-Build isn't supposed to mean design *as* you build.

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