At Nassau County BOCES’s Barry Tech School in Westbury, NY, Electrical Instructor Jim McKillop blends a classroom lecture with hands-on training.
“They’re highly motivated,” McKillop, who has been teaching for over 30 years, says about his students. “They’ve done the research and saw they wanted to invest their time, money and energy into doing something they love. Nobody likes doing a job all day that they know they’re going to be frustrated with. When somebody really takes the time to be happy, it almost feels like they’re not working to some of these guys.”
McKillop answers a student’s question about which proper breaker to install in a panel during their practice session.
A student begins work installing an electrical panel after receiving instructions during the lecture.
Another student begins the wiring of the electrical panel before it is inspected by McKillop
McKillop looks over his student’s work with great detail, but tries to let them find and fix their own mistakes for a stronger learning experience. “If we hold their hand too much, they get out to work and there’s nobody there to hold their hand. The boss expects a lot of them,” he says.
Students at the Local 25 in Hauppague, NY, bend pipe on a Thursday night. While it may seem simple to most, it is crucial that the angles are near-perfect for the wires to run safely through.
One student checks the measurements and angles he drew on the pipe before he begins to bend.
Dave Johnson (right) follows McKillop’s practice and gives his students an important lecture on the angles and types of tools needed to bend pipe before they start their practice.
In the equipment room, Johnson goes over the types and angles of pipe bends he would like the students to practice.
Education in the skilled trades doesn’t just come from hands-on experience. Classroom lectures and length homework, which involves physics and mathematics, is crucial to succeed in the skilled trades in the 21st Century.
Training Director Chris Kelly oversees the apprenticeship program. He says that the instructions and lessons given in his classrooms are just as vital as practice the skills at his training center or on the job.
As Kelly mentioned, the additional knowledge and skills learned in the classroom are just as important as the hands-on experience.
Along with pipe bending for the newer students, the apprentices further along the program will begin to work with wiring in controlled settings such as this classroom.
A cutaway of high-voltage cable splice shows the intricate details and craftsmanship that goes into connecting two power lines together. Similar training equipment can be found throughout the Local 25’s training center.