CoatingsPro Magazine

JUL 2017

CoatingsPro offers an in-depth look at coatings based on case studies, successful business operation, new products, industry news, and the safe and profitable use of coatings and equipment.

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66 JULY 2017 COATINGSPROMAG.COM Industry Insight W hen you ask asset owners and general contractors in the industrial coatings industry to name the single most important factor to ensure that a project meets the coating system performance goals, you will no doubt get multiple answers. ey will range from the need for an experienced and quality team, a well-trained and certified workforce, and well-writ- ten specifications demanding a top-level product. Despite these differences, what a vast majority of business leaders in the industry would agree on is that quality control is definitely a crucial part of their success to remain on budget and earn the next job. is may include in-house and third-party inspec- tors. But how many experienced and well-trained inspectors are currently out there? Not enough. at has to change in our industry. Current Status e bad news is that it is difficult to get into the inspection world without certifications, and it is often just as difficult to get the certifications without some experience. So, what can we as an industry do to solve this problem to provide a crucial part of being a successful company in the coatings industry? T he answer may be simpler than we think. Apprenticeship is a tried and true model for training that includes real-world experiences in addition to classroom knowledge and skills development. T he United States has a long histor y of apprenticeship that has roots in European heritage that we have unfortunately seemed to have abandoned over the past few decades. (Lincoln never went to law school; he was an apprentice.) Other countries, such as Sw itzerland and Germany, remain ver y progressive when it comes to apprenticeship, and it is pay ing off for them in their industries and workforces. In Switzerland, for example: • 70 percent of all students choose apprenticeship, and most CEOs were apprentices when they began their careers; • 40 percent of all companies have an apprenticeship program; • Nearly 97 percent of all students graduate with a Vocational Education & Training Diploma or other high school degree. A ll of this has resulted in a 3.2 percent unemployment rate, with less than a 4 percent youth unemploy- ment rate. Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor has been touting the importance of apprenticeships in fields such as information technology, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing. President Donald Trump is touting workforce development as a primary goal of his administration as well. e proof is out there that appren- ticeship programs work, and the current administration is fully behind programs to develop an advanced workforce through programs like apprenticeships. e curriculum and industry partner- ships are already in place; it's now just a matter of using them. Organizations, such as NACE International and the Society for Protective Coatings (SSPC), working with other industry partners, recently developed a certi- fied applicator curriculum built to meet American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/NACE No. 13/ SSPC-Applicator Certification Standard (ACS)-1: Industrial Coating and Lining Application Specialist Qualification and Certification. So what is holding us back from filling the field with apprentice coating inspectors? Nothing. Industry Investment Assuming that President Trump and the U.S. Congress agree that the United States deserves and can produce a $1 trillion infrastructure investment in the near future, then we, as an indus- try, must make certain that there are plenty of men and women who are experienced and/or certified to apply the coatings to our bridges, roads, and other structures, with corps of quali- fied inspectors to choose from. ose who have both the manpower and the inspectors ready to go from day one will most certainly be the first to prosper in bold rebuilding initiative. CP Photo courtesy of Finishing Trades Institute By Anton Ruesing, Director of the IUPAT Finishing Trades Institute Workforce Training — Check. Inspectors? Not So Fast

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