A problem in the classroom

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There seems to be a problem with every training class/program I enroll in or conduct. I see the problem over and over so I know it’s not just something that happened one time or even two.

The problem is absence. Absence of those who would benefit the most from learning about the topic at hand. The contractors/guys/gals that do attend may have room for expansion of their knowledge for sure but the people that need the training the most are not attending the training for various reasons. This is a problem for the trainer, I get it but I tend to view it as a problem for everyone when looking at it from a competition viewpoint. Let me explain.

I have been a plumbing and hydronics contractor for about ten years. I have also taught for an apprenticeship and journeyman-training program for seven years. I have been in or around the plumbing trade nearly all of my life; along the way I have sat through dozens of training classes ranging from a couple of hours or less to a few days depending on the subject and depth. I also hate a sales pitch disguised as training, just like you. eric_aune_1

Local wholesale managers that I buy from have approached me over the years about hydronics training seminars. I have trained in-house for manufacturers on boiler installations and I hope to continue to do so for many years. In no way am I even close to the trainer I’d like to be someday; I look up to guys like my friend John Barba for his knowledge and talents, would hope to possess levels of knowledge that guys like Dave Yates, Mark Eatherton or Bob “Hot Rod” Rohr have built over the years. But they have the same problems in their training sessions that I am talking about.

As the guy standing in front of the classroom it is expected of me to be prepared to present materials that the trainee will find useful on the job. That can be hard in and of itself but when a basic course is constructed and marketed to the people who need it most but attended by the people who already know the material there has been a disconnect.  The contractors who would benefit the most are the ones who are not there.

John Mesenbrink and I have asked all the qualifying questions of you, our friends on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ about just what it is that you as a contractor are looking for as an outline of good, desirable training. There seems to be a general consensus that FREE is a good thing but other qualities like content and proximity are big factors, too.  I think I share this opinion with many but, plumbing and heating companies who are good want to be better.

As a contractor myself I would prefer my competition be better trained so we can go into each job with the same end game in mind and tools to get there being common.

So, how do we convince these other people that they need to consider the value over the cost? What will convince them to look at it as an investment into their own company? It’s a big task and one that many have taken on for years and years. I am sure there has been progress made but there’s still a long way to go.

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