Read J.P. Cahalan’s article on TrainingIndustry.com
The chronic shortage of skilled trades workers is the most urgent issue facing contractors in field service industries such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), plumbing, electrical and restaurant equipment.
According to a recent survey of more than 2,000 people working in the trades, 68% of employers have struggled to hire skilled workers and 33% said they could not fill open positions. More than one-half (52%) say the lack of workers is impacting their company’s growth and 68% say they could grow their business if they had more available workers.
This situation has resulted in a war on talent that simply isn’t sustainable. Successful businesses are increasingly recognizing the significance of training to attract and retain talent. Effective, continuous training can help grow top talent in the skilled workforce. A structured training program can upskill field workers and equip new employees with the skills they need to be successful on the job.
Having an internal training program also gives employers the freedom to recruit and hire workers outside of the traditional channels (i.e., trade schools and vocational programs). By delivering lifelong learning, businesses can support field workers’ development of specific technical skills needed for the job and advance their careers.
The Limits of Traditional Training Methods
In many cases, traditional classroom training is no longer as effective for field workers and their managers. Historically, in field service, training was episodic and delivered once or twice a year (if that). However, due to the labor shortage, digital transformation and ongoing changes in the business world, there’s a huge need for learning at all stages of one’s career.
Learning must be just-in-time and lifelong to really impact a worker’s development. Blended learning modalities and on-the-job training resources can give field workers the flexibility to learn in their own time. When employers don’t see results after investing in traditional training, they begin to doubt training’s validity. But the problem is that they didn’t focus their training designed specifically to rapidly and regularly reinforce existing skills.
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