How My Training Benefitted Me Outside of My Apprenticeship

During my training with the JATC I keep hearing the phrase; ” This training is not designed to teach you how to master everything electrical, but you should be able to have an intelligent conversation with anyone” (paraphrasing).

And this is true. I will like to tell how the training I received has benefited me with my new Air Force unit.

Recently in June my old Air Force Reserve unit was decommissioned so that meant that I had to find a new home. I ended up joining the DC Air National Guard as an Aircraft Electrical and Environmental systems. Mind you that I had no clue about airplanes except that they get me from point A to point B faster than any other mode of transportation.

However with the training that I received from the JATC, I have an understanding of what circuit control is. And I am capable of reading schematics, tracing circuits and troubleshooting them. So while I am focusing on advance aspects of how an airplane works; and learning how the different systems operate and how they work together. A majority of my counterparts are still learning the basic theories of electricity.

I can proudly say that my training has help me in more aspects of my life besides my Electrician career.

I will like to say thank you the JATC and to our trainers.

Benefits of Transferring Companies

Hello again.

I am now a third year apprentice and I have worked for three companies so far. All of the companies I worked with so far I have had a good experiences so far. I got a long with mostly everyone and I also learned something new at each company.

I have to say that I am glad that it is mandatory that we switch companies every year, because so far my experiences with each company has gotten better with each transfer. If not I probably would have been content with the first company I was at because I would not have had any other company to compare how the conduct business and how different companies approach projects.

Another benefit to transferring is that I have had a chance to experience various types of electrical projects and I also worked in various locations, such as:

Nationals Stadium
NOVA
Cell Towers
DHS
Various Military bases
Sibley Hospital
Data Centers

Just to name a few..

This is giving me a chance to meet new people, experience different aspects of the trade, and a chance to learn different ways to do our craft.

Book 4

Hello again,

I am now in book four the Motor book. So far I am enjoying this book because all that we have covered in the other books are starting to come together. All that we have learned so far is being applied now. So now I am starting to see the big picture instead of individual parts.

For example when we design a motor branch circuit we have to:
1 Find the FLC
2. Select the tuning overcurrent protection
3. Size the branch Circuit conductors
4. Size the branch circuit protection

All of which we have learned in books 1-4 except for finding the Full Load Current (FLC).

The New Format

Hello,

This is a follow up to my ‘Book 3 New Format’ blog and my opinion on the new school format. Personally I like the new format, because we focus more on learning skills that we can use out in the field; instead of listening to lectures all day. We also have a chance to go over anything that we did not understand from our reading and homework.

This helps tremendously in clarifying questions that we may have. Because with the old format, we would have homework check but we didn’t have time to ask questions or to clarify anything that we lacked understanding in from the reading and homework.

The hands on labs that we have done so far makes me feel more confident that I when I go out into the field, that I will not be totally lost; and that I will at least know where to go to find information so that I can be prepared.

Bitter But Sweet Separation

It is sweet that I work for a company that have excellent foreman. I have no complaint with any of the ones I have worked with so far. But one I have been working with for around 4 months. I have learned a lot of cool things from him, in which I feel, will make me a better electrician. One of the greatest qualities that he had, in my opinion, is patience. He would show me new things and let me alone to struggle and practice without breathing down my neck every second, until I became proficient at it. He did not expect me or any to be a master at a skill that they just learned. But he did expect for you to show steady improvement until you became proficient at it.

One of his mottos was to do your assignment to the best of your ability and to perfect your craftsmanship; never leave it if you’re not satisfied with it. No matter how long it takes you. My job now is to perfect my craft and in due time the speed will come; and on top of that it will be done right.

It is easy to slap things in and get it done fast but the main thing is; is it done right and done with skill, and do someone have to come behind you and correct your mistakes.

Well the bitter is that he is no longer going to be my foreman but, it is sweet for him because he will now be working as a project manager. It is sweet to see that he doing new things and expanding upon his career as an electrician.

Book 3 and New School Format

Hello everyone,

Recently completed Book 2 and the new school format it in effect. Book 3 Syllabus looks to be very exciting. In the first lesson we learned how to plan out the electrical work for a residential home; and next session we will be learning how estimates are done. Two topics that I am looking forward to are the power quality and structured cabling sessions and labs.

I believe with the new format in which we do more hands on labs. Our skill and knowledge level should increase at a faster rate. Just after the first session of Book three I was able to have a more intelligent conversation with my foreman about, transformers, planning, and how the use of the code book. Hopefully the upcoming sessions will yield similar results.

My Transfer (So Far So Good)

I have been assigned to a new company for almost 4 weeks now, and I have to say that I really enjoy working with this company. I was nervous about the transfer because the first company that I was with, I really enjoyed the people that I worked with; and I did not know how the people were going to be at my new company. But the jobs that I worked was either hurry up and get the job done last week, or hurry up and wait for someone else to finish their work before we can get started.

With the hurry up and finish last week scenario it is harder to hone in skills that you learn and perfect them, because you have to hit the ground running and keep moving without fully understanding what you are doing and why. I don’t have any issues with that due to my military experience, but it is hard to get questions answered when the journeymen that you are helping are constantly under pressure to get something done a week ago.

Besides being under these conditions the journeymen were very knowledgeable and helpful and pretty decent people. So my overall experience with the company was good.

So far my experience with the new company has been slightly better due to the fact that the journeymen don’t seem to be as stressed out as they did with my previous company. All of the journeymen I met so far are also knowledgeable, helpful and decent people. But they seem to be in accord and on the same page as management.

And as far as the work go. We have been working at a steady pace and I am busy all day which gives me the opportunity to hone in on my skills and have the attention of the journeymen when I need guidance.

The only complaint I have so far is the distance I have to travel, 1 hour and a half. But my overall experience has been good so far.

Don’t Chase Ghosts; Know Your System

Hi all,

In school I hear repeatedly that in order to be a good electrician you have to know how to troubleshoot; and that consists of:

Knowing the theory on how your system operates and Knowing how to use your test instruments so that you can tell if your system is operating properly.

A couple of weeks ago my foreman and I were working on a fire alarm system. We had to have the system turned off so that we could relocate a box and re-splice the wire.

Before the system was turned off, the system was all green. But after we performed our work and turned the system back on the panel was showing an error message; and since we performed work on the system everyone was pointing the finger at us.

I can remember the words of my foreman “We aint about to be chasing no ghosts”. Because all we did was move a box and re-spliced the wires.

So we got out the multimeter and by knowing that in a fire alarm system the wires loop back to the panel. We tested our splices and then we went to the panel were our wires looped at and tested for continuity and all six loops were ok.

After testing and proving that our wiring was ok; one of the people in charge of the panel called someone and they told him to reseat a card that was in the panel. After he reseated the card the system was green again.

Now if we did not know the theory behind how the fire alarm system operate and did not know how to test for shorts and continuity we may have been there a long time trying to figure out something that did not have anything to do with the wiring.

So don’t chase ghost, know the theory behind the system you’re working on and know how to use your test instruments.

My Work Experience

Hello everyone. My name is Kareem and I am a first year apprentice for the JATC Local 26. This is my first blogging experience so bear with me. I will try and make my blog short and sweet, and list some of the experience I gained since I have been an apprentice, and why I enjoy the apprenticeship.

I am in my 7th month of my apprenticeship and I can truly say that I have a new found respect for the electrical field and the apprenticeship. I have learned that there is a lot more to the electrical field then just outlets, switches, and lights. So far I have been with one company, but I have had the opportunity to work on multiple projects. On these projects I have meet several knowledgeable journeymen and foremen’s and have been introduced to various aspects of the electrical field.

I came into the apprenticeship with no field experience and within seven months I gained experience in:

Pulling cable, labeling homeruns, running conduit, building racks, running fire alarm wire, testing fire alarm systems, troubleshooting fire alarm systems, creating whips, hanging light fixtures, installing switches and outlets.

And the list can go on.

I enjoy learning new things, so I can truly say that I enjoy the company I am with now because they allow me to work on different assignments such as construction, cell sites, and solar. This keeps me looking forward and excited about my apprenticeship.
My next post will be about my experience with school and book 1.