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#56634 - 09/26/05 08:26 PM how to teach an apprentice  
scameron81  Offline
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 75
Healdsburg, ca, USA
I must be moving up in the company because I was handed my first completly green apprentice today. I wasn't really sure what to do with him (besides have him unload and load the truck.) I am not sure how to break him into doing more important things. I am kind of neurotic on how I like things done so it makes things a little harder for me.
I was wondering if anyone has any tips on how to teach and make the most of someone who doesn't know anything? I think that I will be learning more than he is going to learn in this whole experience.

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#56635 - 09/26/05 08:55 PM Re: how to teach an apprentice  
livetoride  Offline
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 109
san diego ca usa
I have found the best way to break in a helper is to use him as a go-for, he will learn the tools and parts and you will learn His attitude. I learned with the mistakes thrown at me you cannot do that now days. Willingness to learn is the most important thing IMO Rod

#56636 - 09/26/05 09:13 PM Re: how to teach an apprentice  
e57  Offline
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
Teaching, is not a repetive motion exercise... For the completely green, you need to throw some more dialog into the mix. i.e. "I want you to do (This), and I want you to do it this way.... And this.... is why I want you to do it this way...." Otherwise you get a robot that can't think for himself. I have had a few... And, all you have to do, is get used to describing everything. (One should also bear in mind that not everyone does things like you, if he works with other people, so if you know what those things are... describe those in detail.) Dare I say it, like you have said, you will learn more out of this.

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason

#56637 - 09/27/05 02:56 AM Re: how to teach an apprentice  
Tesla  Offline
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,273
Sacramento, CA
It is extremely unwise to waste his time and yours by using Mr. Green as a go-fer. By the time you have explained what it is that he must get you could've retrieved it many times over.

Start with a total buddy system and with him not doing much more than listening to you as you go through your tasks.

His first hours and days are filled with high risk. He is probably 50 times more likely to injure himself than a seasoned apprentice -- on a per minute basis. So cram safety meatings into his schedule EVERY day until all of the basics are instilled. Your overriding priority is to get him safe first -- forget about his output.

Don't even dream about him making your life easier for quite some time.

Keep Mr. Green within your eyesight -- just like you would a two year old -- I'm not kidding. With enough time and apprentices you'll have endless stories of astounding idoicies to pass around, yourself.

You'll be building your appraisal -- continously -- from the first moment. Be mindful that many great performers can be stressed -- typically the best are introverts -- and may look weak at first. And you'll have troopers that talk a great game and dress the part who turn out to be problem children -- pick your flavor.

The earliest tasks should be buddy oriented like wire pulls, manual trenching -- get it?

Then move Mr. Green to MC/Romex roping -- staging VERY common materials. Do not, do not I say, have him chasing down small or occasional items such as LBs, fixtures.

Constantly expand his area of knowledge by lecturing him about the installation as it proceeds; the why and the how.

Stay totally away from circuit make-up or any other 'knowledge work'. You don't want him doing anything beyond 'mechanical work' until he is seasoned.

Trust his work -- but verify it. When he is not there dive into his work to check for quality. It is impossible to relate the number of wannabee electrians who couldn't repeat their own work. (!) Just because he got it right once doesn't mean that he will continue to do so.

Be prepared to deal with many failures. Don't take it personally.


#56638 - 09/27/05 06:32 AM Re: how to teach an apprentice  
togol  Offline
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 421
I try to find out WHAT any apprentice knows up front.... their knowledge of tools mechanical abilities, you need to know how well they listen
Ask about their hobbies,...or families.
Take them everywhere you go, explain the scope of the job,not just a small task.

Don't complain about a job "rules"

Show them the
"proper" way to do anything, tool safety, ladder safety, job safety ,personal safety, teach by example (resist trying to show-off how fast or quickly YOU can do something) can show them your way later!
make them responsible for something, ....keeping the tools in the gang boxes organized ....making sure the chargers are all back at the end if the day..sweeping up the break area.

You will need to think before you speak, if they screw something up you tasked them with, you must be sure you were clear with your instructions ! You should accept the fact that some things will not be to your liking. Did you check on their progress or did you wait until they were done?

be a teacher, not a pal..that will come later,


#56639 - 09/27/05 10:20 AM Re: how to teach an apprentice  
Attic Rat  Offline
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 524
Bergen Co.,N.J. USA
... Great topic,guys,...I've often wondered what was the best approach,and still keep the prospective apprentice's attention,..I've seen the "newly aquired" lose interest fast,and soon you'll get the "eye-rolling" if you chastise them or send them to the truck once too often,and don't forget the 10 minute walk to the truck,stopping to answer his cell phone on the way,and coming back with the wrong stuff,because he's probably got A.D.D.*(most 18-20 yr olds I've come into contact with have it),and couldn't pay attention to you while you were telling him in the first place..Then they give YOU the attitude...

* A.D.D. = Attention Deficit Disorder


[This message has been edited by Attic Rat (edited 09-27-2005).]

.."if it ain't fixed,don't break a Licensed Electrician"

#56640 - 09/27/05 11:18 AM Re: how to teach an apprentice  
togol  Offline
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 421
Attic Rat,

....... as far as the attitude goes....there is always a pipe pile that is in the wrong place !


#56641 - 09/27/05 11:24 AM Re: how to teach an apprentice  
Dnkldorf  Offline
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,064
nowhere usa
There is always the "attitude adjustment tools".


#56642 - 09/27/05 11:30 AM Re: how to teach an apprentice  
Attic Rat  Offline
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 524
Bergen Co.,N.J. USA
... LOL Togol,yeah,or that bin of scrap copper wire that needs stripping,.. or worse yet,...the abominable bottomless bucket of screws and other assorted hardware that nobody ever sorts out,.. could prove fatal to most of todays apprentices!! [Linked Image] [Linked Image] I'd think that would be the equivalent of "30 days in the hole"... [Linked Image]

[This message has been edited by Attic Rat (edited 09-27-2005).]

.."if it ain't fixed,don't break a Licensed Electrician"

#56643 - 09/27/05 12:43 PM Re: how to teach an apprentice  
togol  Offline
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 421
.....oh yeah Attic Rat, like you said ,some of these kids think they should be..for some goofy reason...
respected......oh its too funny. I wasn't exactly the model cub myself ,and hopefully scameron has a good App to work with


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