31Jan

One thing separating Zoom Drain from its competitors is that we provide the education and the tools to evolve into one of our expert technicians. While prior experience is certainly welcome, it’s not required – you can quickly get on the path to a new career without any prior knowledge.

We offer a comprehensive paid training program stemming from decades worth of experience, a wealth of manuals, hands-on education, and a support system that will lead to success. You won’t find that anywhere else! But what exactly should an apprentice expect from our program?

What To Expect The First Day

It all starts with an introduction to fellow apprentices and an orientation. From there, students will undergo an overview of plumbing systems, specifically sewers and drains, though they need to have an understanding of how it all works together. On top of that, they get an overview of the industry – a brief history, a look at how it’s all evolved, and the change in codes and standards. But why is it important to learn drain and sewer technology from well over a century ago?

“Most of the plumbing – the drains – were based on research done at the turn of [the 19th Century],” says John Galligan, Zoom Drain’s Trainer. “At that point, when you flushed a toilet, you probably put seven gallons of water down the line, so you’ve got four-inch cast iron pipes. Today, you’ve got 1.28 gallons going down and if we were building that today, we wouldn’t use four-inch, we wouldn’t use cast iron, so it’s helping you understand how things are going.”

Along with overviews, they’ll get a tour of the facility and a better grasp of the tools of the job.

Moving Along During The First Week

After a visual and hands-on introduction to the basic tools they’ll be using, along with the specific function of each tool and proper identification, apprentices will learn about the cable equipment. The goal of learning these specifics right away will prove immensely beneficial.

“So, when a technician says, ‘Get me the pump pliers, or get me the channel locks, or get me the whatever’ you’re going out to the truck and you have an idea – you know what they’re looking for and you know where to find it,” adds Galligan. “So, when they do that first ride-along, that first week, they’re helpful. They’re not drones, doing nothing – and it just makes it real.”

Ride alongs begin right away, in the first week. Typically, apprentices will spend one day of each week in a truck with an expert technician, gaining more knowledge. It’s imperative these future technicians see the real-world application out in the field, helping other team members and viewing how they do it.

Continuing On The Path To Success

With a significant amount of training under their belt, it’s time to start taking things apart. In small groups, the apprentices will disassemble toilets, sinks, bathtub drains, and more. It gives them the ability to see how exactly everything works and to become familiar with common drains. Seeing and doing are two different things – this can be a great way of building muscle memory. 

“If another option is to give you something to take apart and leave you alone, but you’re really engaged, that’s more productive than even having class,” says Galligan. “I kind of follow where your passion is going. That’s the driver – we chase wherever the passion is.”

Galligan might follow their passion but he does so with an extensive curriculum. There’s a checklist to make sure every student learns exactly the abilities necessary for success, which includes 114 boxes filled with visual aids, little reminders for each step on their journey. Galligan always makes sure to let his students know that if they have questions, to make sure they ask. There are no dumb questions and they won’t get lectured about how they “should know that” but, instead, spotlight the answer to the student and the group, to yield a better understanding.

Once there’s a proper familiarization with bathroom fixtures, it’s time to highlight the commercial services Zoom Drain provides, specifically grease traps for commercial kitchens. It’s also time for a deeper dive into the cable equipment and how exactly to dismantle it and change out the parts, in case there’s an equipment issue on-site, a technician will be able to troubleshoot it.

Once apprentices have learned, seen, and received hands-on practice, it’s time to go out on a call. When they go out on various field trips, in a group, the supervisor isn’t there to help, instead, they just watch to ensure the apprentices discover mistakes and don’t get hurt.

“They do everything,” says Galligan. “My job is basically to keep them safe. Other than that, if they’re in the process of making a mistake that they are going to see themselves, that’s not going to cause damage, I just let them do it – the guys go through the whole process.”

Reaching The Finish Line As An Expert

Towards the end of the class, it’s all about constantly recapping. At this point, the supervisor works on anything he’s noticed the team might be struggling with. It’s basically crossing t’s and dotting the i’s, looking back on what they’ve done and how they can do it better in the future. And highlighting things that ensure the best – and most efficient – customer service possible.

“You pull up to a house, where do you park – it’s a simple thing, “Galligan admits. “But, there are mailboxes the mail carrier has to get to, did you park in front of them? Did you go down the driveway – or should you go down the driveway? Do you go down the driveway after you ask? If you park it in the driveway, are you blocking the garages or is someone coming on here?”

Now, after the apprentices have done some roleplaying with employees acting as customers, the group is ready to ride along every day, for a few weeks, to assist and develop their skills, everything from highly technical tasks to providing exceptional face-to-face customer service.

“If you’re a really quiet person, we’re not going to make you gabby! We’re going to help make that work for you. If you’re struggling with something, we find someone that’s really good at it – and they’ll ride with you. At the end of the day, it’s about training the next level of professionals, not just robots. We’re looking for professionals that really understand the physics of how drain and sewers work and how the equipment works – and how to be efficient at it,” noted Galligan.

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