How to Turn a Trainee Into a Valuable Team Member

We may specialize in exam prep and continuing education, but we also know that the learning doesn’t stop once someone finds a job. That’s why we’re highlighting a simplified version of this article by Bo DeAngelo, master plumber and manager of technical training at Viega. He has some helpful tips on how to effectively teach a new trainee in a way that helps them succeed right away.

Determine the best way to teach your trainee

Don’t be afraid to ask trainees about their preferred learning style. Even if they don’t know, you’ll see evidence of what method is best as you work together. In DeAngelo’s experience, it’s best to use a combination of visual, auditory, and “hands-on” instruction.

Keep it simple

Being an expert in your field can make it easy to assume others know more than they do about that subject. Assess your trainee’s level of knowledge and be sure to teach at that level.

Trainees might be reluctant to ask questions or admit they don’t know something, so make sure they feel comfortable speaking up or asking you to explain something a second time.

It's important to make the trainee comfortable with asking questions.

Give the “Why” along with the “How”

Showing someone how to do something is best paired with an explanation of why it’s done that way; whether it’s efficiency, safety, or some other reason. Knowing “why” will reinforce the correct approach and decrease the chances the trainee will try to find a “better” way on their own.

Use other sources

Encourage your trainees to supplement on-the-job training with other sources of knowledge, such as manufacturers’ training videos and manuals, trade associations, etc. Knowledge they gain on their own has a tendency to stick with them.

Be patient

You weren’t born knowing how to install a hot-water tank or snake a sewer line. Someone had to show you and correct your mistakes. Teaching someone else is a chance to repay the favor.

Keeping these steps in mind will help bring along the next generation of tradespeople and maybe even allow you to retire someday.

If you need an easy way to keep your employees up-to-date on their continuing education, check out our company wide training solutions!

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