It’s one of those unspoken realities that makes people uncomfortable. Unlike, say 20 years ago, when new hires were “pushed” to take advantage of the on-the-job training, apprenticeship-like programs, and extensive free industry education opportunities, today it appears that very few people in our industry are learning the fundamental principles behind the work they’re doing.
While our brethren in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) world are getting the basic education and training they need, and as the norm work their way through the ranks with trainee, apprentice and journeyman certifications, we still struggle with making this an across-the-industry reality. Organizations like InfoComm, NSCA, CEDIA, the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF), CompTIA and others offer extensive opportunities, but the drive to use these resources seems to be missing from many employers and employees.
There remains a substantial lack of perceived ROI for these programs, and the percentages of “trained and certified” employees versus the workforce size is still well under other industries like automotive repair (Automotive Service Excellence, or ASE, certification is extensively used as a marketing tool) and various IT segments (Microsoft certifications, Cisco certifications and so forth). Even beauty salons and hair stylists have better percentages than we do.
Why? I think it’s because we have failed to establish a clear and definable value proposition for this training. More often than we would like to admit, prospective employees are left to their own devices to get this training, and then are not compensated appropriately for their efforts if they do get a job.
We have also failed to establish the value of such employees and their training and expertise in the minds of those who buy from us. While prospective clients, customers and users will