Tasha Colson is the NexTech Academy training leader at BelRed Energy Solutions in Mukilteo, Wash. They currently have eight people in the HVAC program. She shared her observations on how NexTech has worked in her business with Jeff Atwell, NexTech Academy’s Plumbing Technical Coach.
Jeff: What’s the key thing you’re doing that drives the program?
Tasha: We have a dedicated trainer that works one on one with the students. His name is Russ Hall and he has 30+ years in the business. He has the patience to work with inexperienced students.
Jeff: Why do you think having patience is important?
Tasha: When he teaches a skill, he can tell if the student understands the task or not. If necessary, he can explain it in different ways, until they do. The students have different learning styles, working with them one-on-one allows those styles to be catered to.
Jeff: How do students work through the skill assessment exercises?
Tasha: They are supported and coached by Russ Hall. We also have a training lab here at our shop and can work through the skill assessments on site.
Jeff: So, if Russ is doing the one on one coaching, what are you focusing on?
Tasha: I make sure they have easy access to the curriculum. When we first signed up for NexTech Academy we purchased Chromebooks for the students so that they would have access to the online program anywhere. They have opportunities throughout the day or week to log in and work through the program, all they need is a Wi-Fi signal. If they are between calls or have some downtime, they can find a McDonalds or Starbucks and hop on the free Wi-Fi. I keep track of student progress, making sure they log in and progress at an expected rate, usually 1-2 modules per week.
Jeff: What have you found most challenging so far?
Tasha: Well, we just enrolled a new group of students in addition to the ones we already had. Coordinating students with the trainer can be challenging at times; I’m working with many schedules. However, the quality time that the trainer has with the students makes all the challenges worthwhile. I think that identifying the right people to help implement the program makes a big difference in the outcome.