The rapid rise of new technologies, techniques and safety protocols in industrial contracting is changing the face of the industry. Confronted with this transformation, it’s vital for firms to stay ahead of what’s new and what’s changing in order to stay competitive.
Continuing education (CE) offers a proven way for companies to retain their edge and for tradespeople to improve their career opportunities in a changing environment. While educational opportunities were in the past accessible only by a few and usually required a physical presence, the Internet and other technologies have made an unimaginable wealth of information available to just about everyone.
How CE Benefits Industrial Contracting Firms
Industrial contractors are under increasing pressure from customers, regulators and competitors. Ongoing employee education is an effective strategy firms can employ to maintain and improve their prospects.
- CE builds your reputation. Remaining top of mind for new projects and/or requests for proposals is often a matter of a company’s reputation. Investment in CE can help with your need to differentiate your firm from your competitors.
- CE fires innovation. A highly-skilled and trained workforce can envision new solutions to project problems and discover hidden opportunities.
- CE helps retain skilled workers. Investing in employee development is a proven way to retain workers. According to education service provider Lorman®, companies with strong learning cultures see retention rate increases of 30-50%.
- CE helps overcome labor shortages. Today’s workforce is looking for firms that are truly interested in them. Offering CE as part of the hiring package makes your firm more attractive.
- CE is needed to attract a new generation of workers. New technologies are raising awareness of construction as a career. CE is critical to converting that interest into employment.
- CE improves project quality and efficiency. A highly-trained workforce has a greater understanding of project requirements and is better positioned for success.
- CE enhances project safety. Ongoing safety training that includes regulatory awareness reduces the chances of injuries and resulting delays.
While most CE focuses on specific processes and techniques, there are other areas that should also be included. “Soft skills” such as communications, leadership, adaptability, flexibility and problem-solving add value to every employee. They should be a regular part of a company’s continuing education efforts.
CE for the Skilled Trades
Continuing education can have a massive impact on your career as a skilled trades professional. By increasing your knowledge and upskilling your abilities, you put yourself at a competitive advantage in the workforce and increase your value to your company. Continued training can not only increase your earnings potential, but your job security as well.
A lack of financial resources was usually top of the list of reasons for missing out on educational opportunities. But with the advent of less expensive online services, classes and training, financial considerations are much more manageable.
Access to Training
There’s never been an easier time to improve your knowledge and skill sets. You’ll find a wealth of industry publications, including blogs, white papers and more available online. Online courses and special events, such as manufacturer-sponsored webinars and association conferences offer great opportunities to learn about new products, techniques and even regulatory changes. Professional and trade organizations often offer online forums where you can ask questions and get meaningful answers from your peers and others.
Finding the time to match your work schedule with school schedules often meant missing out on educational opportunities. The advent of on-demand educational resources has mostly eliminated time considerations as a barrier to career advancement. Flexible scheduling enables you to continue working while building your education.
Resistance to Change
The skilled trades have been somewhat hesitant to view continuing education as important to their growth and development, preferring on-the-job learning from experienced co-workers. But with the speed of change we’re experiencing now and the growth of competition in industrial contracting, most tradespeople understand that continued skills and abilities training is a must to maintain their viability in the workforce.
As the industrial contracting industry continues to experience the effects of internal and external forces driving change, firms need every advantage they can muster to stay competitive. A strong commitment to continuing education can be the difference between developing industry leadership and getting left by the pack.
Lee Contracting employees grow their expertise with a variety of continuing education opportunities. Visit our Careers page to learn more!