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Developing ITM Inspectors

Training Program Helps Companies Grow and Get Ahead

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “an investment in knowledge always pays the best interest,” and the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) is proud to live that statement in its core values. In the effort to grow industry education, AFSA is pleased to have graduated its fourth Inspection, Testing and Maintenance (ITM) Inspector Development Program class. Students and supervisors continue to give the program high marks. 

The class received positive reviews from graduates with one student from the newly graduated class saying, “This class was very helpful in knowing what is required from me as an inspector and I am very thankful for all the help from everyone who was a part of this class, teacher, and student.”

The AFSA ITM program boasts well above national first-time passage rates on NICET Level I and II exams: averaging 89 percent overall for the three exams. Overall, students’ first-time pass rates are over 20 percent better than the 65 percent NICET national average in all categories of testing.

AFSA is proud to be the first to offer an industry-wide ITM Inspector Development Program. The program, which launched in 2016, aims to develop “green” or beginner technicians into NICET Level II-equivalent inspectors.

While the numbers, paired with the track record of success are impressive, it’s possible you may still have some reservations about sending an employee for such extensive training. You may find yourself asking, “What if I invest in training and they leave?” but AFSA challenges you to change your mindset and instead ask yourself, “What happens if I don’t train them and they stay?” The importance of a well-trained workforce can’t be stressed enough and has never been more vital to the industry than it is today.

What Makes the Program With the ever-growing need for a well-trained, well-rounded workforce in mind, AFSA’s ITM program goes far beyond just providing technical training. It features a blend of learning tools, environments, and styles that combine to make a highly immersive and comprehensive training package for future inspectors:

  • On-demands lessons,
  • Live webinars,
  • Instruction/discussion, and
  • On-the-job training (OJT) guidance,
  • Instructor support, and
  • Two (2) in-person live sessions that include:
    • Mock field inspection,
    • Lab instruction,
    • Classroom training,
    • Role play,
    • Class tours, and
    • NICET I & II exam prep.

With so much content being delivered in a variety of ways, students will have an opportunity to truly immerse themselves in all aspects of inspection, testing, and maintenance. In addition to the lessons, AFSA is with you every step of the way starting with candidate selection. AFSA provides the tools to not only help you pick your trainee but to offer unrivaled support of them along the way. AFSA also provides hands-on tools such as the Contractor Manager Guide, train-the-trainer information, and more that help you establish support for your candidate.

Professionalizing Inspectors It’s important to highlight that the ITM curriculum doesn’t focus solely on the technical aspects. While technical learning is essential to the program, it also includes additional hands-on training methods such as role play to further prepare your inspector for situations they may encounter on the job and how to conduct themselves professionally, always being mindful of their role as your company’s representative.

OJT Guide As previously mentioned, a large component of what makes the AFSA ITM program so special is OJT and instructor guidance. The program comes equipped with an OJT guide which is divided by level of NICET competencies to facilitate steady and gradual progress for your inspector. Additionally, this guide aids the employer in assuring that the inspector trainee attains adequate exposure in the field throughout the program. As a resource, AFSA instructor support is always available and provides feedback to both students and supervisors not only on OJT guidance, but overall student performance as well.

Why Train? Professional development through ITM helps your company to be anything but average while also positively contributing to your company’s bottom line through decreased insurance premiums. Offering ITM services can also improve brand image, help retain clients, and build lifelong relationships with clients through providing quality service that ensures safety and compliance. When you become a trusted one-stop shop for all client needs, they have little reason to look elsewhere for these services.

A well-trained service team not only builds loyalty outside the company, but also generates loyalty among employees within your company. Investing in your employees’ training helps to create an environment of trust and loyalty by showing that you value their contributions to the company, and you want to equip them for professional success now and beyond. Boost loyalty, productivity, and efficiency of your organization.

Providing the option to pursue ITM service offers the chance for your inspector techs to see not just a job, but a career path within your company. Through the ITM program, you are offering your inspector a network of peers who they can connect with, learn with, and continue to grow and develop beyond graduation.

Think Ahead As a final thought, remember that enrolling an inspector can place you ahead of the competition and help prepare you for whatever lies ahead for the economy. In 20 months, your inspection team can be stronger than ever while others may remain unprepared having not invested in training. Pairing this ITM Inspector Development Program with proper field training and supervision will better enable contractors to educate a “green” inspector in-house.

There is still a limited opportunity in 2019 to register your ITM team. If you’re ready to professionalize your inspections team, AFSA is enrolling for its next class, launching October 21, 2019. Exclusive discounted pricing of $4,250 for this expansive program is reserved for AFSA members only — with the first payment only $3,100 ($8,500 total due at time of registration for non-members), with classes limited to an enrollment of 20 students. Registration is open to AFSA members only until six weeks before the first class. Visit www.firesprinkler.org/itm


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