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#12117 08/01/02 12:42 AM
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1
bradyap Offline OP
Junior Member
Guys, and Gals I have been electrician for 15yrs, Master, and blaw blaw blaw, But are the younger generation not receiving the training, or paying attention to the trade as well as. Why I'm asking! I am working for a very large firm that employs about 100 people. Overtime (electricians) are given projects to run, and as I travel to check on some I hear these lead men telling their guys things from their learning days that are untrue, ridiculous, and unsafe. I know it's our job to correct them, and undo the damage. Often thou we end up only defending ourselves as thou we was the wrong ones here.
Any thoughts.....

#12118 08/01/02 07:45 AM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,392
welcome bradyap,

there are many who, on receipt of licensure
( or whatever quailfies them) simply throw the good book away, quite the shame IMHO, to operate at the standards of the 1986 book, after such tedious study....

i think you'll find this forum's members try to keep up with the latest NEC , and are rather protective of our trade in general, and would sincerely endevor a 'passing of the torch' as well as could be done.

~grab a mit & jump in the game, always goes better with serious players.....

~Steve aka sparky...... [Linked Image]

[This message has been edited by sparky (edited 08-01-2002).]

#12119 08/01/02 08:05 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 175
I have been teaching apprentice electricans for 30 years and have noticed a very disturbing trend. Each year there seems to be fewer young people that are interested in learning how the system and equipment works.

Whenever I try to present the background knowledge (we used to call it theory) I get the response - "Is it in the test?"

The priority seems to have shifted over the years from learn the trade to get that license.

And some of these guys are talking about becoming contractors. They believe their employers are making too much money (for doing nothing) and they want to get in on it.
Are they in for a surprise!!!


#12120 08/01/02 04:55 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,392
guilty as charged Ed.....

look at the bright side , after certain 'realizations' there are those that would seek your expertise , and lend an ear to 'how the system works'......

what is a house without a foundation?


#12121 08/01/02 06:21 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 202
I have been in industrial maintenance for the past 8+ years. I just graduated with honors, with an Associate degree in Industrial Electrical Maintenance and after 4yrs of college i have come to notice and the instructers agree with me that our society and the kids in school today are more worried about the GPA or grade than if they learned anything at all. I believe what one instructer said i would rather give a guy a lower grade and know he learned the material and knows how to do than give a guy an A for memorizing the info long enough to take a test.

#12122 08/01/02 08:38 PM
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 440
Likes: 3
Welcome bradyap,
I hear you. I'm 35 years old, masters, blaw, blaw, joined the Navy at 19, blaw, blaw, blaw, in the trade 12 years. After 4 years in the Nav, I went through the JATC here in Houston. There were many like that in my class. I've found that people want their check at the end of the week, but they don't want to do any more than "what is required" to get it. Many people will try to do less, if they can get away with it.
When I look at my own life, sometimes I have to say that I'm guilty of the very same thing.
IMHO what are some of the factors that contribute to this problem. Selfiness...what's in it for me?
Inability to delay gratification.....I want it now.
No doesn't matter how I do it this....why do I have to be on time?
Laziness....I don't feel like doing that, so, I'm not going to.
John Adams said, "Endevour to be a good man, and a useful citizen."
I don't think that you can have one without the other.
If we could solve the problem that you described above, we would be heroes. I think the answer lies within each person. We all need to decide to do right, and excel in all that we do.

Philosophical regards,

The Watt Doctor
Altura Cogen
Channelview, TX
#12123 08/01/02 10:58 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 717
I KNOW the problem well. Ed, this is my 19th year of teaching apprentices, I expect we could swap some stories.

Steve, I don't know what it was but I never could stand that some apprentice/journeyman knew more than me about the subject at hand. It most certainly did not come easy, but I would read anything I could on the subject at hand until I was also competent, you're right, I don't see a lot of that anymore.

I like to draw 3 coils on the board and ask the students to connect them for Open, closed Delta, and then Wye, that usually gets their attention, and they usually find it pretty neat that by the end of my first semester they can not only connect them on the board and in class, (instead of spitting out an answer in rote memory for a test) but understand why a delta is always a high leg with a neutral, and why a wye is 208 and not 240.

I also jog them from their first year ( you know where they learn all that useless dc electronic theory) by asking them how a capacitor works. About the time they tell me it's a conductor with an insulator around it (sometimes they go further, sometimes not, depends on the class) I hold up a foot long piece of THHN, then slip it into a 8" piece of pipe. NOW we can begin our true discussion of induction, it's benefits, and it's problems.

Just some of the things I do to perk their ears up, seems to help most of the time.

#12124 08/02/02 12:13 AM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 122
I'll throw out my 2 cents on this one because it happened to me. It's not always the students who are the problem. We had some like bradap is talking about too.
I went through a state approved apprenticeship course through the local community college where I was located. Let me say that I was very eager to do this I had been in the trade for about 6 years before I even started it. I knew I had some big holes to fill in my head. Went through the semester using the required text for lessons maybe 3 times. Other than that we used the handouts prepared by the instructors, which were good and very informative but, it was his own curriculum. Very little lessons on theory had to learn that on our own.

Second year starts, instructor comes in and says we are supposed to learn Blah blah blah "but I figure most of you guys have been doing that for awhile so we will jump right into motor controls". Half way through the year he is injured in an accident. Replacement instructor comes in pulls out the text asks where we are and we all say "we haven't even used it yet" almost in unison, no one was happy about shelling out $100 on a book that we weren't using. The Replacement instructor finished year 2 and we were lucky enough to have him for year 3. He did his absolute best to fill in what we had missed after learning how the first year and a half went.

Fourth year was O.K except that the instructor’s claim to fame was he could "do anything faster and cheaper than anyone around” Lets just say he was what most would call a hack. The owner of the company I worked for cringed when he found out who the fourth year instructor was. The guy was known as a hack around town. He even handed out his time saving techniques for speed! All of them seemed to compromise safety, integrity or NEC.

This has really been burning at me since I started coming to this board. I don't always have the confidence in some areas to jump in. But I am always lurking about when time allows filling in the gaps. [Linked Image]


#12125 08/02/02 03:24 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
It's not just a problem in America.

The way I work means that I don't come into contact with others that often these days, but on the occasions that I do I'm surprised at what they don't seem to understand.

I've run into those who knew how to apply proper grounding and bonding, but could not explain why it is done or what would happen without it.

Another example which comes to mind is the guy who was having trouble sizing wire for some low-voltage lighting. The instructions that came with the xfmr told him what size to use for the 16A or so on the 12V secondary, so that wasn't a problem. But he then started choosing the primary wire based on a 16A rating, and didn't seem able to grasp the concept that at 240V the primary current would be under 1 amp.

I can only assume that he was taught to just look up the current rating in the wire tables and did not really understand the relationship between amps, volts, and watts.

I'm firmly of the opinion that anyone in this field should not know "just enough" to install wiring as per the book, but should also have a thorough understanding of the principles and theory to know why something is done a certain way.

#12126 08/02/02 04:04 PM
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 127
If any of you live in states where the school system uses standard tests to qualify students for advancement to next grade level or graduation, you will be seeing more and more of those entering electrical training wanting to be taught the test. That is what is now done in Texas schools. At a school board candidates forum a couple of years ago I asked if, in light of the shortage of trades persons, was the board planning to include trade training as part of the curriculum. The answer was that time and money spent on teaching trades would take away from being able to teach the TAAS. The students are being taught that the way to advance in school is to learn what will be on the test, learn those answers in the format that the test presents them, and any other learning is not of value.

Gerald Powell

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