Come Back to Learning
The benefits of learning mingle into our personal and professional lives. Personally, learning keeps our brains fresh and firing. Professionally, we have various continuing-education requirements based on our state’s licensing standards. Education can help your crews stay current in the field, and it can give you management tools for running your business.
For the Owner
In many states, contractors are required to have CEUs (continuing education units) to renew their licenses. Continuing education does not have to be burdensome because you can pick courses that appeal to you. CEUs can easily be obtained online, or you might receive invitations to local events from trade groups, associations and municipalities. If you want to dive deeper into education, national associations and trade shows are a great place to start.
Build 24: AWCI's Convention + Expo educates contractors about drywall, ceilings and acoustics, lath and metal framing, plaster, EIFS, insulation, software and more. It takes place in March 23-27, 2024, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. While there are costs with travel, the expenses are tax deductible and the opportunities can advance your company.
Not only will you learn about the latest tools and products, you also will meet associates and make connections. We find actually getting in front of different people a few times per year gives us learning opportunities from a manufacturing standpoint. We also like to sit down with contractors at trade shows so we can talk about installations and problem solve together.
For the Team
Build 24 and other trade shows provide quality education tracks, and they typically are set up by job type—contractor, installer, owner, architect or other positions. This ensures you are making good use of your time and attending classes designed for you.
Traveling with your team may be out of the question, so remember that one of the best places to learn is on the job. Consider setting up a mentor program and bringing in the experts. You might have someone on your crew who is simply good at everything. Use him to train your new employees and to keep the skills of your other guys fresh. You also want to capture those skills before anyone retires!
If you are having a problem with a particular product or material, call the company and ask for someone to visit your jobsite. We have sales representatives all over the country, and they would be happy to meet with you and give demonstrations. Amanda Pulley, pictured in this blog, recently met with a contractor at a site in Austin. In the photo, she is demonstrating the ease of installing our latest product, Snap Lock.
Some manufacturers conduct lunch and learn programs—you eat while they talk, followed by hands-on learning. These classes bring education to your crews, instead of sending them out to find a class.
Tricks of the Trade
Learning never stops in life, so why should it stop in the office? There always are new tricks to learn, new products and materials to try, and new ways to solve a problem. Seek out learning opportunities for you and your crew that go beyond CEUs. Your customers might just notice the difference in your approach, and your crews might appreciate an additional investment in their career.