Regardless of the technological advancements that are developed, the most important part of the construction industry is its people. After all, that is what workforce development is all about. From craft professionals to contractors to owners, it takes hard-working and dedicated people to make the industry successful. By focusing on its people, the construction industry will be better prepared for the changes that lie ahead.
One great training methodology from the past that we need to revitalize is mentorship. The construction industry was built on the idea of passing down knowledge and skills to the next generation, either from parents to children or from journeymen to apprentices. However, this practice is mostly a thing of the past as more journeymen have lost the art of being on-the-job teachers and coaches. A resurgence of mentorship is needed now more than ever as our industry’s baby boomers prepare for retirement, and millennials are expected to make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025. Experienced craft professionals have a lot to offer the younger generation. As mentors, they have the opportunity to leave a legacy and give back to the industry that has given them so much. Plus, contractors have the opportunity to utilize their experienced professionals as teachers or coaches.
With 20 percent of the construction workforce expected to retire over the next decade, it is important for the industry to take advantage of this opportunity before it is too late. This is why NCCER developed its newest curriculum, Mentoring for Craft Professionals. The program prepares craft professionals to become mentors by detailing the expectations and outcomes of a mentoring relationship, characteristics of effective mentors, phases of mentoring relationships, communication techniques, conflict resolution and elements of a formal mentoring program. After successfully completing the program, mentors should be able to determine the needs of trainees and how they learn best. Through mentorship, the next generation of our construction workforce will be equipped with the skills and expertise needed to maintain our industry’s success.