A new apprenticeship program for pool/spa service technicians has been registered by the State of California.
A coalition of industry associations, including the Independent Pool and Spa Service Association, the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance, and the United Pool Association, worked to gain the approval by the state’s Department of Apprenticeship Standards.
To gain journeyman status, service technicians must undergo 2,000 hours of training – 144 hours of in-class instruction, and the remainder on-the-job training from employers following a strict outline of subject matter.
“My goal here is to take the vision of the swimming pool service industry from a job to a career,” said IPSSA CFO David Hawes. “I don’t think we’ve done enough to present the pool service industry as a career to the younger generation. We’re hoping this will provide the incentive for those who aren’t sure what career they’re interested in, to give them the option of the pool service industry as a career path.”
Several companies have already initiated the process of signing up, he added.
As an official state apprenticeship, it will receive support from government agencies, such as the state’s apprenticeship office and department of labor, which will include the program on their master databases and make it visible to those looking for career opportunities. Additionally, the coalition plans to reach out at job fairs and other such events to generate awareness.
“Apprenticeships are on the rise because it’s a great way for industries to attract a workforce,” said PHTA CEO Sabeena Hickman. “I think getting us on the map with California just opens up doors for us."
She added: “Through this partnership, they’re going to cast that net a little wider and really raise the awareness that there are career options in the pool and spa industry. So it’s added exposure to our trade and some of the career options that we offer.”
This is only the beginning, these officials said. After the service apprenticeship program has gained its legs, the group plans to explore a similar program for the building sector. But more far-reaching plans will take place sooner, when efforts will begin to create a similar service-tech apprenticeship program on a federal level.
Hawes is slated to teach classes for the first year, with other instructors to be trained soon. Officials expect to have the first apprentice candidates signed up and beginning to train this spring.