- Features | August 2, 2016
Southwire Embraces Sustainability Through Apprenticeship
Apprenticeships create well-prepared workers with the best form of education: experience. An apprentice will shadow and work for an electrical contractor, while also learning the trade in a classroom setting. Southwire supports apprentices and believes in the mission of IEC’s apprentice program, which is to enhance the independent electrical contractor’s success by developing a professional workforce and providing leadership for the electrical industry.
With the proper training provided by IEC, the workforce produced by this program becomes an important asset to the electrical industry. It not only allows students to learn about the field’s newest, most innovative products, it also provides the skills required to sustain the workforce for generations to come. Southwire develops sustainable labor by investing in people and communities through IEC’s highly effective apprenticeship program and involvement at national apprenticeship shows.
The Industry Is Changing
Southwire understands that the industry is changing rapidly due to the influx of innovation to the market. Our goal is to support the IEC apprenticeship program in keeping pace with these emerging innovations.
“The educational documentation and training methods are not keeping pace with product innovation,” said Bill Fowler, manager of Training and Customer Engagement at Southwire, who works with the IEC apprentice program. “One of our goals at Southwire is to standardize best practices across the industry by exposing students to the latest innovations versus taught habits.”
The education and experience needs to be as accurate and up-to-date as possible in order to yield the most success for the electrical industry. Southwire has donated nine pulling packages retailing at $10,000 to IEC, all including: SIMpull® CoilPAK™ Mini Wire Payoffs, MAXIS® 6K Cable Puller, QWIKrope™ Pulling Rope, SIMpull Head® Pulling Grips, SIMpull Stack™ Reel, Maxisjax® Triggers, GUIDEit™ Circuit Router, GRIPit™ Circuit Size Pulling Head, assorted hand tools, and Swivel and Clevis. These donations have been used to educate young electricians on the new technology because this new equipment is not in a manual.
Experience with current equipment in a controlled learning environment is important because knowledge coupled with hands-on training provides a real-life work experience that cannot be read in a code book. This way the apprentices are more educated, which benefits both electricians and their clients in the long run.
Incentivizing Apprentices in the Work Experience Program
Within the program itself, there are measures in place to ensure apprentices are engaged and incentivized to go above and beyond expectations. Each year, students in the Top Apprenticeship Program are chosen to participate in hands-on product training in Southwire’s Carrollton, Georgia, facilities. On these trips, Southwire donates employee hours to train contractors through product demonstrations. The students are given a detailed tutorial on how to use our complete set of solutions on the jobsite. At the end of the day, students can choose one of nine hand tools to take with them.
While learning in an interactive setting is extremely valuable, another aspect of being an apprentice is observing processes and paying close attention to skills that will be applicable in their professional career. These field trips provide a behind-the-scenes glance at wire and cable production as well as insight into professional methods and applications of our products in the field. By opening up our doors to students – along with donating new, sustainable products – Southwire