Beginning a new career is an exciting time—it’s like turning the page to a new chapter in your life. As I participated in apprentice graduations at IEC chapters across the country in May and June, the excitement was everywhere. Proud family members, encouraging colleagues, and supportive instructors all celebrated each apprentice’s accomplishment. Completing the four- year apprentice training program is not an easy task, and each apprentice should feel proud of this significant achievement.
Those apprentice graduates will now enter the electrical field equipped with the best training available. These new electricians will bring a fresh eye and enthusiasm to today’s businesses. As experienced contractors, we need to embrace that spirit and continue to guide them as they grow into professionals while also valuing their perspective.
Now, at the start of a new school year, IEC chapters across the nation will welcome new students into the four-year Apprentice Training program. If the trends of the past few years continue, then we should have another year of considerable growth in the number of first-year apprentices. In 2013, we experienced an increase of more than 800 apprentices compared to 2012.
These men and women decide to enter the training program for many reasons, from wanting a high-paying, in-demandcareer, wanting to work with their hands, or training for a new career after selflessly serving in the military. However those individuals arrived at IEC, we want to support them and encourage them on their journey to becoming an electrician.
We can all remember the first day as an apprentice or at a new job with that nervous excitement. The next time you see an apprentice at your company or at your local chapter, congratulate them and tell them your story. There may be life lessons from your career path that can help them. Give them words of encouragement and tell the many benefits to choosing this excellent career. Let them know that people are here to support them. IEC is the place to be for electrical contractors, whether just starting out or now wanting formalized training after many years of experience.
IEC continues to invest in the future of the industry with top-notch apprentice training, continuing education, advocacy, networking, and so much more. This year is particularly exciting as we are launching many new features to our apprentice training. The First-Year IEC National Student Manual has undergone a facelift and is now more reader-friendlyand easier to follow. Additionally, more digital tools are available for instructors so they can spend more time with apprentices and less on paperwork.
We can all invest in the future of this great industry by inspiring those new apprentices, welcoming graduates, and telling everyone IEC is the association for success.