Organized Training Could Solve Labor Shortage

Where have all the technicians gone?

That’s the question being voiced throughout the industry as dealers scramble to find and then keep skilled (and even unskilled) installation and service techs.

according to the 1999 Security Sales Dealer Survey, the demand for technicians has driven up wages significantly … as much as 53-percent higher in one instance. In 1999, the average installation technician was paid $13.31 per hour, up from $10.60 per hour in 1994. Likewise, service technicians are now earning $14.36 per hour, up from $9.35 just five years earlier.

What’s being done about this? For its part, the Security Industry Association (SIA) has announced a massive new education program for the industry. In an interview with Security Sales, new SIA President Marc Mineau of the DSC Group outlines the program, which targets both new and existing technicians. SIA is devoting 15 percent of its entire operating budget in 2000 to create coursework for educating installers. The mere fact that the manufacturers’ association – SIA – is working to find and train installers on behalf of dealers shows the labor dilemma facing the industry.

The thrust for education highlights a gap in the industry’s current training system: There is a need for standardized certification. Currently, the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s (NBFAA) National Training School offers Level I and Level II training for burglar alarm equipment and the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) offers fire certification. However, there is no current system designed to certify the individual training programs conducted by manufacturers and other training companies.

To potentially resolve this gap, the NBFAA has created the Board of Professional Certification (BOPC). The board hopes to create standardized skill sets in burg, fire, CCTV, access control, etc., that training programs can use as a litmus test. SIA is also examining other potential certifying organizations.

The end result will be better-trained technicians and a new supply of skilled installers. Before you go out and spend time and money to steal a technician from another company or try to train an unskilled worker to handle the task, call your local association to learn more about these programs.

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