November 10, 2020
Given the change of course that has happened in the world, we wanted to provide expert opinions on what aspiring graduates can do to start off their careers in an uncertain economic climate. We wanted to know what skills will be more important, where the economy is doing relatively well, and if there will be any lasting effects on the job market.
Companies are looking for candidates that can handle the new responsibilities of the job market. Recent graduates actually have an advantage because they are comfortable using newer technologies and have been communicating virtually their whole lives. They can take what they've learned and apply it immediately.
We spoke to professors and experts from several universities and companies to get their opinions on where the job market for recent graduates is heading, as well as how young graduates entering the industry can be adequately prepared. Here are their thoughts.
L. Keith Lofland: Practical hands-on experience as an installer really stands out. In the electrical industry, our "Bible" is the National Electrical Code (NEC). Hiring someone to enforce the requirements of the NEC is greatly enhanced by someone who not only knows and understands these rules but also has hands-on experience in implementing these rules from a practical standpoint.
L. Keith Lofland: One of the growing trends in the inspection community is virtual inspections, where the inspector is off-site with someone (contractor, installer, homeowner, etc.) on-site with a camera feeding video back to the inspector. This technology was heightened and brought to the forefront by the COVID-19 pandemic.
L. Keith Lofland: Yes (see above). Also, most inspection agencies (either by the state or local requirements) require their electrical inspectors to obtain a certain amount of required continuing education units (CEU) credits per calendar year. In the past, a lot of these CEU credits were obtained with in-person classroom training. The onslaught of the pandemic caused this type of CEU training to turn to webinar deliveries. Even after the pandemic, I believe webinar-type virtual training will continue to grow. There will always be a place for in-person training, but virtual training will easily overtake in-person training in the future.
Robert Shepherd: People entering the workforce for the first time and recent grads cannot become elevator inspectors due to prerequisites required, which cannot be attained in any sort of schooling supplied in the world, there is none in existence. The only way you get to be a certified elevator inspector is by successfully attaining a diploma from the school of hard knocks, so OJT is the only way!