In today’s society, we are all becoming increasingly aware of the skilled trades shortage that is coming our way. Decades of misrepresentation in pop culture and in high schools, coupled with shop classes and other programs being cut from public schools have led us to the skilled labor shortage.
There’s a lot of opportunity for growth and job security within the trades!
However, they can carry a variety of false assumptions. It’s dirty work. There’s no money to be made. It doesn’t require an education. It’s a male-dominated field. You name it, we’ve all heard it.
This week, we asked Tod to talk about false stereotypes and assumptions that he faces within his field, and what he is doing to combat them. Every field has them, so let’s learn about what Tod has noticed so far.
I think many people see HVAC repair technicians as a bunch of “C” students that never made it to college
They believe us trade technicians have somehow managed to learn a skill by chance or working beside family already in the trade. Usually, these same people watch technicians very closely, making sure we show some signs of knowledge on what we are about to fix before they pull out their credit cards. They might even ask us a few quick questions (researched on Google), to try to determine if the technician knows what he or she is talking about before jumping into the service call.
If they only realized how precise and sensitive the HVAC equipment is that we work with today, they would understand there is a lot more to repairs than just turning a wrench or banging a hammer.
Before we begin to make repairs, we must diagnose the problem, and we better be right!
Customers are not going to pay us to fix the same problem twice! Beyond the solid-state circuitry, the safety devices such as pressure switches, hi-limit thermostats, and flame sensors, there are standards that must be met. Standards set by manufacturers for specified gas pressures, refrigerant charges, proper airflow, and proper exhaust and condensation installation. Safely designed equipment can become dangerous if improperly installed or poorly maintained.
Soon I will have earned my degree in the HVAC field and continue to an apprenticeship in my field. It hasn’t been an easy process, there’s a lot to it, but it has been a rewarding experience. There’s something about being able to take a broken piece of equipment and revive it and getting it operational once again that gives one satisfaction.
Am I one of those “C” students?
No, I’m currently on the dean’s list with a 4.0 GPA. Could I have gone to college? I did go to college, and I received a bachelor’s degree in accounting -which is also a degree I can’t currently find employment with. Am I learning a skill by chance? No, with the help of experienced instructors I’m determined to learn how to perform daily HVAC technical skills, on my own. In another year I will have the tools and resources to become an asset for any company in the HVAC-R field of trade. At that time, I will be much better off with a learned trade, than the diploma I earned years ago.