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Thank you! Just to clarify, what I meant about "electricians without experience" is without experience in your field, so if you're a commercial builder hiring an electrician with only residential experience or if you're a service company hiring an electrician with only new building experience.
I'm not terribly old, but with 26 years in this trade, I've come to the conclusion that you can't cross-train an electrician on purpose. He's either born with the innate ability to do construction, service, or sometimes both, but you can't turn one into the other with training alone. It's somewhere in the DNA or how your daddy raised you. Cross-functional electricians are discovered, not trained. If "training" does exist, it's merely by giving those with this inborn ability the latitude to explore new opportunities in the trade that they will, by nature, excel in.

Here's a training tip for you... don't train (except in your very specific niche field). Instead, take this old tip.... slow to hire, quick to fire. You'll crew up with higher quality guys more quickly that way than you ever will by spinning your wheels trying to train them.
 
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Good advice!

Can you expand on training in a very specific niche for me? Let's assume you've got a great employee with the right DNA, how do you keep them up to date on training? We're also assuming this employee is human and let's say he excels in most of the things your business does but could improve in some areas. How do you help them improve?
Niche training does not exist in any classroom, online class, or textbook. These niche items are cards held close to the vest, and doled out in drips and dribbles in places like online forums and happy hour at the local bar. The only way to learn the niche things is to work. Have a mentor or three on the job. Have a little latitude to mess around with things you've never done before under someone's watchful eye. There's no way in hell, for instance, you're gonna take a guy that just came from an Emerson factory class to do a transfer switch shutdown and maintenance in a hospital.
 

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... do you think these types of learners would do well learning from an online or computer-based program?
Since you seem insistent on an answer to that question, I will tell you that my answer is, overwhelmingly, no. The successful electrician does not have the temperament to sit for an online class.
 

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I learned most of what I know with OJT, self education (reading before online existed), talking and listening and a few seminars. And a whole lot of thinking about the subject.


If you want to learn you can, some guys are content being average others want more. How many electricians are there in the USA, how many bother to come to sites like this to ask questions and learn?
I've been the same way, but how do you find guys like you and I (guys like participate on this forum)? How do you find the people with a passion for the trade; a passion for learning? I've been thinking a lot about that the last couple days.

Traditionally, when hiring TRAINED electricians, a company will:
-Give a knowledge test, either by oral interview or written test
-Occasionally move on to some version of a hand's on test

This shows that an electrician can do the job, but do they have the willingness or capacity to learn even more beyond what they know already?

Traditionally, when hiring SEMI-trained electricians/helpers, a company will:
-Give a knowledge test, either by oral interview or written test
-Give a general aptitude test to try to determine if they have the ability to learn more.

This shows that an electrician has some skill, may be able to learn more things, but does not accurately gauge whether he has the willingness or passion to learn more.

Traditionally, when hiring UN-trained helpers, a company will:
-Give an oral interview to try to gauge temperament
-Give a general aptitude test to try to determine if they have the ability to learn trade topics.

This shows that a person will probably fit in the culture of the company and should be able to learn some things. This still does not gauge his willingness or desire to do more than earn a paycheck, as Ken rightly assesses it.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&& (ode to Telsa)

The huge thing that's missing from the hiring process (and this goes directly to the training process) is the gauge or test of a man's willingness and passion to learn even more. We can test what he knows. We can test his general aptitude. We can't test his DESIRE. We can't test his PASSION. I have a couple of ideas on how that could be done, but I'll end this post here. I submit that until we can sort out those with desire, getting the puzzle of how to train electricians solved is a moot point.
 
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