Waves of linemen are retiring from the line trade each year, and utilities are searching for aspiring apprentices to one day fill the veterans' work boots. Before veteran linemen leave the industry, however, companies are trying to find ways to share their knowledge and experience with the up-and-coming workforce of the future.
At the 2018 Lineman's Rodeo safety and training conference, a group of young pre-apprentices and apprentices had the opportunity to ask their questions about the industry to a panel of experienced linemen. For example, they asked how to successfully break into the line trade and land their first job in the industry.
Dennis Kerr, an ILRA board member who retired from DTE Energy; Mitchell Hankins, who retired from AEP and is on the ILRA board of directors; Dave Vargo, delivery safety manager for Kansas City Power & Light; and Rick Sprenkle, transmission and distribution training manager for Liberty Utilities shared their words of wisdom with about 40 pre-apprentices from Metropolitan Community College as well as other apprentices in attendance.
Here is their advice for how pre-apprentices can not only survive, but thrive in their apprenticeship program and enjoy a successful career as a journeyman lineman for many years to come.