Apprenticeships are an important step in bringing in the next generation of plumbers.


In this column last month, I discussed the different ways a plumber can attract a younger generation to the industry.

Lets fast-forward a little and say that young man or woman you talked to is now entering the plumbing industry and they are interested in working for you, but have no formal training or experience.

Don’t throw that candidate aside. Talk to him or her about taking an apprenticeship with your company. Being a plumber’s apprentice is a unique opportunity that combines on-the-job training with time in school. Your apprentice will develop skills as a plumber, which will eventually qualify him or her to become a fully paid, licensed professional.

Related: Apprenticeship Program Fosters Built-In Labor Pool

Rozga Plumbing & Heating, profiled in this issue, has two apprentices on its staff being trained by four master plumbers and three journeymen. Owner Bill Rozga uses the apprentices as part of a larger support team for his plumbing staff, which allows the master plumbers and journeymen to stay focused on what they should be doing instead of something an apprentice, dispatcher or delivery drivers could handle.

That approach for the company, based in West Allis, Wisconsin, has allowed for continued growth and success in the last 36 years.

Having an apprentice on staff allows a company to have more manpower, while also training them in the ways of your company. Plus, you typically don’t pay apprentices as much as you would your other employees because part of their payment is the education they are receiving.

“Apprentices keep a plumbing shop competitive,” says Randy Lorge, who instructs apprentices at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, Wisconsin. Lorge offers tips on how to set up an apprenticeship program in this issue’s Smart Business feature.

After that apprenticeship is done in about five years, you’ll have yourself a journeyman ready to hit the ground running, who won’t require a lot of your time looking over their shoulder.

SETTING UP YOUR SERVICE VAN

After that apprentice has advanced to journeyman, it’s time to stock up the next service truck or van for him or her. The Product Focus feature this month will give you ideas on service vans and fleet management tools. Not every plumber sets up a truck the same way. A lot of it depends on the area you work and what kind of services your company specializes in.

We highlight the equipment you might be carrying in your truck or van every month in our On the Road feature.

Is there a unique tool or piece of equipment that you use daily on your job that you think would make a good On the Road feature? Send me the details and your contact information to editor@plumbermag.com.

Who knows, you could be helping a fellow plumber find a tool he’s been searching for to make his job easier.

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