I often wonder what direction some companies are going when it comes to training. It seems that fewer and fewer are sending their technicians to the training programs that are offered by manufacturers and suppliers. Why?

Could it be because some owners and managers feel that they have all master technicians with the accommodating licenses to work in the trades? Or could it be that some technicians simply lack the self motivation to attend classes that will bring them added value?

I still hear from some managers say that their technicians won’t attend a night class unless they get paid, and for the life of me, I don’t understand this mentality. Training can only bring personal satisfaction and financial gains.

I recently participated in a trade show and convention in Providence, RI, sponsored by OESP (Oil and Energy Service Professionals) and I was delighted by the effort that was put forth by the OESP Convention Committee along with the manufacturers and their reps to make this event worthwhile to everyone who attended.

However, although Tuesday the show floor was busy, I couldn’t understand why there was such a low rate of attendance on Wednesday.  If you were one of those who did attend this show, you were able to see the latest in technology from a heat pump supported electric water heaters, low mass boilers, furnaces with ECM motors and the new controls that support the reduction of fuel and electrical energy. There were also several natural and LP units that will function at 90 + efficiency along with several A/C displays as well.

Another great item on display, and a must to learn about in the months ahead, is what I call the next generation high low-fire residential oil burner. This burner is being introduced into the market now and will require training and certification in order for the unit to maintain its 50 percent turn down ratio. The new blower motors that can ramp up or down, depending on the heating requirements, drew a great deal of interest as well, and they, too, will require training in the event that there is a service-related issue.

Keep in mind that in September the new federal mandate for outdoor reset or boiler water temperature sensing controls along with no standing gas pilots take effect. I was amazed to find out at a recent training program I attended, that like the wireless thermostats; there is now a wireless outdoor reset device.

I don’t know how many read the recent article in the PM trade magazine, about a well known trainer who operates a gas training institute that took five of a company’s handpicked personnel, to take one of what I assume was a standard gas type exam. The real eye-opener of the article was these same people were told that they could take the test home and use whatever material they needed to get the answers. Would you believe that after two weeks of having the exams, the top score was 52 percent by one and the other scores were under 40 percent and the passing grade was 70 percent?

So, without going any further and knowing that this industry is getting more complex by developing new controls, motors, and other devices, ask yourself, ‘Do I need the training in order to meet the demands of servicing the next generation of electronic devices?” Thanks, Tim and Dan, for sharing!


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