Training Is Essential for Success in the Connected World of Today and Tomorrow

training.gifAccording to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of electricians is projected to grow 14 percent by 2024(1), much faster than the average for all occupations. As homes and businesses require complex wiring and more connected points, electricians will be needed to install the necessary components – but many electrical contractors are having difficulty finding qualified applicants, especially those that can perform more specialized work.

In addition to this growth, there is a huge opportunity that currently exists for electrical contractors to expand their workforce to win new types of business. Often overlooked, ongoing training is a simple way that electrical contractors and electricians can get ahead, especially in the areas of safety, electrical codes and standards, and new technologies.

INDUSTRY DISRUPTION = NEW OPPORTUNITIES

During the past 90 years, we haven’t seen too much in the way of the disruption of skillset in the electrical industry. For example, safety has been a huge focus since the early 1920’s when the hazards of the occupation started to become exposed through campaigns such as “Jones is Dead!” to raise awareness and innovation around the dangers of exposed electrical switches. The importance of staying up-to-date on electrical codes and standards has also remained a constant, and it is undoubtedly still one of the most important considerations today. While it is certainly true that there still is a need for the more traditional knowledge to perform jobs, the past decade has brought about a huge change – particularly in the areas of technology/Internet of Things (IoT). With this has brought the need for more integration of systems and the demand for energy efficiency – and has created a disruption in the electrical profession.

Although the impact of all of this change certainly has put a strain on firms that are looking for electricians with specializations and skills that can perform these types of jobs, it also presents a huge opportunity for the electrical community as a whole, including both those that are just starting out in the field and industry veterans, to become electricians of the future.

While it may seem like a simple solution, training is key to standing out from the crowd and creating long-term business opportunities for both electrical contractor firms and electricians.

FOCUS YOUR EFFORTS

With all of the changes that have occurred over the past ten years, it can be hard to understand where to focus efforts on training. Five key areas that Schneider Electric recommends are new technology, services, education around safety, electrical codes and standards, and project management:

New Technology/Communications: Electrical contractors can no longer only focus on electrical systems as today’s businesses and organizations are looking for more integration. As a result, the ability to install and integrate systems for power, control, communications, security, and safety is essential. For example, building owners and facility managers continue to request more advanced equipment and integration of building systems to monitor and control daily energy use. Electrical contractors that possess the skills to recommend and install the best solutions to maximize efficiency will be able to expand business opportunities and be able to better meet their customers’ needs.

Services: Think the work is done after installation? Think again. As businesses, healthcare campuses, and educational institutions continue to leverage the latest technology to become more connected, there is a huge need for professionals that can go into the field and help customers troubleshoot and resolve issues, especially those with integrated communications systems. El