So far in this series, we’ve discussed the first two laws of NexTech Academy: to start by creating a thoughtful training program, and to then align all departments on the value of training. The third law addresses bandwidth.
The amount of bandwidth someone has refers to their capacity–how much can they give to a certain situation? Making sure the Training Leader has the room and the skills to oversee the program is crucial. They have to ensure the correct people are doing what is needed to support the student, the program and the company regardless of their challenges.
NexTech Academy is not a “set it and leave it” program. It requires the Training Leader’s attention to ensure student success. Will you be able to perform your regular duties alongside the duty to be attentive to the needs of your students through NexTech Academy?
Having Patience and Empathy
Students need to be able to make mistakes and learn from them. A positive learning environment comes from the understanding that learning is a process. Sometimes it may be easier to correct a mistake yourself, but leading a student through the process of understanding what went wrong and leading them to finding a solution instills perseverance and self confidence. Take the extra time to foster curiosity in them instead of being quick to reprimand; this is critical to developing their independence as plumbing, electrical and HVAC technicians in the future.
Students will have questions: whether they be technical or questions regarding the curriculum and navigating the platform. Being available also includes having consistent check-ins to see how they are progressing and if they currently have any challenges. This also includes having “Buy-In” from the leadership team. As you learned from the previous post on alignment, everyone needs to be on the same page when it comes to having a successful training program. You’ll need support from other departments in order to make time for your students.
What if you don’t have the bandwidth to manage an entire training program? Here’s where you can be real with yourself and the company and see the need for delegation (distributing tasks to others). Sometimes it’s about not having enough time, but sometimes it may be that Training Leaders don’t have the trade knowledge, so they need to delegate these tasks to another person in the company. This can be a senior technician or another person on the leadership team who has this expertise.
Grading Student Assignments
NexTech Academy is designed to have a cohesive relationship between the student and the Training Leader. Tracking progress is vital to student success. The courses in the program require that the assignments be graded before the student can take quizzes. This means if you are not regularly checking and grading assignments, the student will be held back, unable to proceed in the program. You will need to grade skills assessments (hands-on tasks in the field or at your shop), reflection exercises and worksheets.
Time to Check-In
The decision to become a Training Leader–on top of your current position–can’t be taken lightly. Reflect: if you are a service manager, do you have the time to dedicate to training and manage your department? If you are an owner, do you have the time to manage new employees’ learning on top of running your business? Or are you a senior technician that runs calls in the field? Discuss this with all of the individuals at the company who have been assigned to delegate NexTech Academy.
Reminder: Reach out to your NexTech Coach!
For success in the program, we recommend reaching out to your coach to help you develop a solid training program that can be customized to your company’s needs. Unsure of who your coach is? They can be found on your Nexstar homepage under coaches.
Stay tuned for our next topic in the training series: the Law of Discipline.