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Training Employees: How to Provide In-House Schooling and Training for Home Services Businesses

training employees
Rebecca Riserbato

There is an ever-increasing demand for trade professionals in the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC services sector. And that is a double-edged sword. Why? Because while the high demand may sound lucrative for home services companies, the problem is that there is an insufficient supply of technicians to meet it.

One of the top solutions to navigate this tech shortage is that home services companies start providing HVAC training, electrician training, and plumber training in-house. This will also benefit the technicians as these professions are expected to warrant high salaries in the future.

But how does this help home services companies? How do home services companies start providing in-house training successfully? What are the top examples? Today we will answer all that and more, plus help you understand the intricacies of setting up in-house training and schooling in your home services company.

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Why should home services companies provide in-house schooling and training?

The recruits hired by home services companies often go through a vocational training course to learn the tricks of the trade. However, due to limited funding for these courses, these students are at the risk of learning outdated techniques and practicing obsolete instruments.

Usually, this means home services companies need to re-train new hires from scratch. The wastage of resources and time is pretty evident here. Trade companies that hire HVAC technicians and electricians are the first to face these problems as those technologies are updated frequently.

Technicians coming through unauthorized apprenticeship programs sometimes better understand modern machinery and techniques. But, there is no guarantee that their techniques will prove to be the most efficient in the workflow of your home services companies.
This, in turn, compels the home services companies to teach the correct methods thoroughly.

Home services companies can circumvent these problems by creating an in-house schooling or training program for their technicians and employees.

How does in-house training help both the home services companies as well as the technicians?

Apart from addressing the problems mentioned above, in-house schooling and training give home services companies an opportunity to solve the labor shortage in the trade. Plus, since many of these companies want their employees to be trained in a particular way, they can create the course material as per their specific needs.

The companies can also create detailed apprenticeship programs and teach all the necessary techniques and procedures. On the other hand, they can make a trade school that offers accredited programs with recognized licenses, degrees, and certificates. These programs are the same as 4-years college programs but focus on home services.

These programs will vary for plumbing, electricians, and HVAC technicians. Other factors like the student's background, prior work experience, employee churn rate, and more will also play a significant role in designing the structure and duration of the programs.

In-house training is highly beneficial for technicians as well. How? With in-house training, they’ll essentially go to school for a career they are already working in.

Some examples can better explain the diversity in different programs.

Examples of home services companies already offering in-house training and schooling

Let’s look at some examples of home services companies already offering in-house training.

1. Albuquerque Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling

When ABQ noticed that it was getting progressively harder to find plumbers, technicians, and electricians, they opted to solve this problem by introducing an in-house school within their facilities. They offer a 4-year program that provides electrical and plumber training. Classes are held three days a week from 6 am. In addition, the students have to work 40 hours per week as apprentices. By the time these students finish their programs, they are ready for their respective licensing tests.

2. Anderson Plumbing, Heating, and Air

Similarly, Mary Jean Anderson started the Anderson Career Builder Institute (ACBI) to solve the labor shortage for her company.

They offer 4 programs-

  • ACBI 201 is their most advanced program that teaches high-level skills and electrical training.
  • ACBI 101 is best suited for techs who want to start working immediately. The program is taught during their apprenticeship period, coupled with 4 days of instructions and learnings every month.
  • Their Skillbridge program is a 90-day training regime specifically designed for military personnel transitioning to civilian life.
  • And, another 90-day program that teaches the students five days per week. Like all the other programs, this one is also a paid apprenticeship program. The students coming through this program get a chance to be hired by Anderson.

3. Pike High School

This institute has started a vocational training program using the latest HVAC machinery donated by Carrier. Witnessing the success of this program, Carrier started their Tech Up program to provide HVAC training to their employees.

How can home services companies start their in-house training and schooling?

Here are the steps for any home service company to start in-house training and schooling.

Define your needs

Before you start creating programs, you need to define your goals clearly. Your goal can be to train your employees in your methods and procedures. Some companies open schools to attract more people into the trades.

In other cases, companies might want to use their extensive experience and knowledge base to teach students in exchange for a fee. This also creates a new source of income for some brands. For example, Mary Jean Anderson noticed that people leaving the trade were around 10% of the total workforce. However, the incoming plumbers, HVAC technicians, and electricians made up only 6%. To bridge this gap, she started the ACBI.

Create the materials

There are multiple ways to create the materials for your training program. To begin with, companies can create materials containing all their workflows, systems, procedures, and proprietary tool guides.

This is best suited for in-house training programs catering to the new apprentices and recruits. Similarly, you can create the study material for your in-house school by altering the information from pre-existing materials. Home services companies can also collaborate with an online course provider and get training materials.

Prepare the tools

Plumbing, HVAC, and electrician training are incomplete without significant practical training. For plumber training, you can dedicate a wall within your facility to create a plumbing board with a few different facets and pipes of various orientations. In the same way, for HVAC training, you need to get the most used and latest HVAC machinery to train your technicians. The same applies to electrical training. For electrical training, you also need to conduct a color deficiency test.

Hold training sessions

You can start conducting the classes after preparing materials and course schedules for your in-house schooling and training. Students will understand these concepts best when their study time is a mix of theoretical and practical experience. This is why ABQ has made it mandatory for the students to work 40 hours per week under their 4-year program. Keep in mind that these programs are not only to train new students and recruits but also re-train old employees to increase their efficiency.

Compare the results

Your goal for this in-house training and schooling should be unambiguous and measurable. It will enable you to compare results with each other and measure improvements directly. Use these results to set milestones for your students. Each time they achieve a milestone, they will feel accomplished and put in more effort to ace their training programs.

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Direct advantages of creating in-house school and training programs

Save time and costs

Since the companies need not send their employees to attend training events, they will start saving money in the long run. The companies will also save valuable time as the employees and new recruits will be available for duty through the apprenticeship programs.

Increase collaboration

Employees and new recruits will get more time to bond and understand each other's working methodology before becoming a part of the trade. It will encourage camaraderie, and the new hires will be more likely to co-operate with each other.

Tailored materials for training employees

As the home service company will be responsible for creating the materials for their training programs, they can eliminate any information that they find irrelevant. In fact, you can tailor the entire material to suit the needs of your business.

Training Home Services Employees

That is all you need to provide in-house training for your technicians and employees. There are multiple factors upon which a thriving home services company is built. In-house training and schooling is just one piece of the puzzle. And if you are looking for more, this is the place to be.

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