Investing in the Future of HVAC – Part 6
This article is a continuation of the previous five articles titled “Investing In The Future of HVAC”. As was previously discussed, finding qualified HVAC technicians is getting harder and harder for employers. RightTek HVAC Training, in partnership with the local Johnstone Supply store in the Raleigh, North Carolina area decided that not meeting the needs of this industry with trained technicians was just not acceptable. A six–week Bootcamp style course was developed to produce a junior-level service technician, ready to enter the workforce. This current issue is going to focus on the Week VI curriculum while continuing to highlight several students who took the step forward to better their lives and their success stories after they completed the course.
The first four weeks of Bootcamp focused on Air-Conditioning and Heat-Pump Systems with Week 5 being dedicated solely to Gas Furnaces. With Week 6 being the final week Bootcamp, the curriculum was designed to include advanced troubleshooting techniques, routine maintenance/service calls and customer service etiquette. To start the week, students advanced their proficiency on troubleshooting skills by using RightTek’s custom-built troubleshooting units. These two specially designed & built troubleshooting units (Gas Furnace with A/C and Heat-Pump) can introduce over 30 unique faults right in the classroom that the students can analyze, identify, and correct. Students in small group settings sit in a semi-circle around the unit, taking turns with their own hands, sharpening their analytic skills. If a student would get stuck evaluating the fault, the small group was spontaneous with suggestions and created a learning environment that was incredible to watch as an instructor. As seen from many years of being in the classroom, teaching repetitive troubleshooting skills reinforces heating & cooling fundamentals while deepening the knowledge base. The troubleshooting skills learned from the troubleshooting units became almost intuitive as the students sharpened their proficiency of finding all the faults that they were challenged with.
Routine maintenance and service call indoctrination is also a critical part of the Bootcamp curriculum as it prepares the graduating student with confidence when visiting a customer’s residence. Topics covered included inspecting, cleaning and testing units for proper operation. Emphasis is placed on performing quality and professional looking work to ensure a satisfied customer. To round out the week, time is also spent on proper customer service protocols & communications when dealing with customers. Real-life examples are provided on how to meet & greet a customer and how to gain a customer’s trust. The week ended with all the students taking their NATE “Ready to Work” examination. The pass rate for this class was 100%, which was a great way for these dedicated students to finish the 6-week program.
Meet One of Our Students
Noah Phelps came to the first day of Bootcamp with limited HVAC experience. Hired only 3 months earlier as an apprentice, Noah was selected by his management team at “JD Service Now” of Durham, North Carolina to attend this select program. Just turning 20 years-old, Noah wanted to grow and excel in this demanding industry. To master the HVAC trade, Noah knew attending this accelerated technical program was going to provide him with the knowledge and skills to jump-start his career. Noah’s employer also saw the potential in him and allowed Noah to attend this program on company time. As our top student in this particular class, Noah fully grasped all the classroom & lab material being taught with confidence. When Noah completed the course, he transitioned from apprentice to Junior Service Technician, running in his own truck. Catching up with Noah recently, he expressed that the new job position and pay has provided a solid career path that was unattainable only months earlier. Noah also wanted to let us know that the real-world lectures, repetitive lab exercises and textbook “diving” to learn where to find the answers when stuck in the field has made all the difference when trying to solve problems. In Noah’s own words, “The Bootcamp course gave me the knowledge and skills to accelerate in this field and I feel fortunate that my employer sent me to this class”. As always, we could not be any prouder of Noah’s accomplishments and watching him grow within our industry. (This article is Part Six of a Six–Part Series)
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