One of the key benefits of the union training program is the relationships developed between apprentices and journeymen. The mentor-mentee bond is a unique one that lasts throughout both careers.
In its simplest form, a mentor is someone who takes an individual with less experience “under their wing” and answers questions about the job and offers some sage advice. But, most mentor-mentee relationships develop a deep bond and learn from each other for many years.
Apprentices are the future of the trades and the union, and the journeyman understand this and embrace the role of mentor to pass along their hard-earned knowledge to the next generation of HVAC technician.
Seventy nine percent of millennials think mentoring is critical to career success, according the Huffington Post.
When apprentices are enrolled in a union-sponsored commercial HVAC apprenticeship program, they are paired with a journeyman. This journeyman has likely taken a very similar path they are embarking upon and this gives them unique insight into the challenges and issues the new apprentices will face.
Apprentices developing a relationship with a journeyman, who respectfully teaches and advises that leads to increased job satisfaction. Respectful treatment of all employees at all levels was rated as very important, according to a Society of Human Resources Management report.
While the students learn skills in their classroom sessions, journeymen mentors work with the apprentices to apply those skills in the field outside the controlled classroom setting.
This relationship and one-on-one training helps fill “knowledge gaps.” An example of a knowledge gap is learning the mechanics of replacing a broken part in the classroom, while mentoring from the journeyman helps the apprentice broaden their understanding of the situation. This includes a deeper understanding how or why the part broke and thinking through possible solutions from their years of experience.
One key role mentors have is developing an apprentice’s soft skills, such as working with clients who may be upset their industrial HVAC is broken, resourcefulness, critical thinking for troubleshooting and problem solving.
As the relationship develops, the apprentice gains confidence in the trade and their own abilities, and in return, the mentee can teach the mentor things, such as social media, updated techniques or equipment and additional leadership skills.