We are excited to announce our next Foremen Development Series is beginning, and we are looking to engage members in these courses.
Properly trained supervisors are vital to success on the job and are the backbone of any project. That said, over 90 percent of field leaders reported they received no leadership training to help them fulfill the responsibilities of their position.
IBEW Local 553 has incorporated the Foreman’s Development Series to provide that needed training to our field leaders and those interested in moving into a leadership position.
By completing the 16-module series, we hope our leaders:
- Increase their leadership skills and are given a knowledge base beyond past experiences.
- Obtain consistency between jobs and companies, and maintain an injury-free environment.
- Adapt to the changes in the industry and construction schedules.
- Allow our contractors to bid on more diverse and more extensive projects.
- Ensure completion of projects without leaving unfinished tasks.
- Help us gain market share in our local.
Instructors of the course have been certified to teach the series. They would like to begin offering the courses in November. Participants may attend on Fridays from 8:00am-12:00pm or one evening weekly from 5:00pm-8:30pm. All modules are very interactive and have several group activities throughout each course. The goal is to get a wide range of people engaged. We hope to engage CEs, upper-level apprentices, new JWs, Foremen, and people who have been in the field for years. This is not just a class for new supervisors – there is excellent value for anyone to attend.
We are identifying people for these courses, and a schedule will be forthcoming once enough people are enrolled in both the day and evening classes. These courses are sponsored by Local 553, and we provide this training at no cost to our members. Breakfast or dinner will be provided for each module.
Please let us know if you are interested in attending and which class you prefer (Friday mornings or one evening weekly) as soon as possible. Details about the series are provided below.
IBEW/NECA Foreman Development Series
The Foreman Development Series consists of (16) modules designed to improve the quality of electrical field leaders in our industry. The first 12 modules are intended as basic training to assist any Journey-level Worker or Foreman in developing the skills necessary to succeed in the role of Foreman. This is also an excellent course for Management to attend as planning documents, estimating, scheduling, and many other project management items are discussed in greater detail.
Of the 12, only the first module, Role of the Foreman, is a prerequisite in this series. All other modules cover individual topics and can be taken in any order. The last four modules are advanced and will be completed after the first 12.
Each module combines extensive information through instruction and presentations with breakout activities. These modules encourage a lively exchange of ideas between participants with active participation and group activities throughout each class. Upper-level apprentices, CEs, JWs, and Foremen with 20+ years of experience, as well as Company owners and Management staff, have completed these classes and found them very worthwhile. In addition to the curriculum, it is the interaction and sharing experiences between the students, both young and old, that make the classes so beneficial.
The Foreman Development Series provides a broad overview of practical, hands-on fundamentals. If you work in the industry long enough, you will find that we tend to run into the same problems from job to job and come up with similar solutions. These classes are based on current industry “Best Practices,”; not any one management style or IBEW or NECA point of view. This series aims to provide additional tools for the participants to use that will complement their skills and company policies. What a participant learns in these classes will have practical applications the next day on the jobsite.
This series of classes was created by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ 7th District and the Southern Region NECA. These Modules were created in 2009 by a committee of 9 people with extensive experience in the electrical industry, running electrical construction projects and training and teaching electrical skills. The IBEW 10th District saw the great benefit of this series and actively supports classes in our district.
To ensure the quality of the FDS program, all trainers teaching these FDS classes have been certified by the FDS Training Program. The certification process involves each instructor attending a series of (3) separate “Train the Trainer” sessions in which they learn additional teaching skills and how to instruct the individual classes.
Modules in the Foreman Development Series
- The Role of the Foreman: This module discusses the duties of the Foreman and what qualities and characteristics make a good field leader. The class is an overview designed to ask the participants to consider the components of being a Foreman.
- Project Start-Up: The goal of this module is to become familiar with the planning documents, terms, methods, and procedures that are necessary to begin a new electrical project.
- Material Management: We will examine the various problems associated with ordering and handling jobsite materials and study a series of “best practices” that will result in better material management on their project.
- Labor Relations: The class will explore the relationship between Management and the workforce regarding hiring, setting expectations, employee attitudes, performance issues, misconduct, and the Local’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. It demonstrates how to use progressive discipline to improve performance and properly handle layoffs and terminations for cause.
- Understanding the Estimate: Gives a broad overview of how the electrical contractor is awarded work through the bid process, how the contractor arrives at their cost estimate, and how the successful estimate is then turned into the job budget of labor and material that the Foreman is responsible for overseeing.
- Man Loading & Scheduling: Participants will understand standard terms used in scheduling and compare a General Contractor’s schedule with an Electrical Budget to learn how they relate to each other. They will use the schedule and budget to man-load a project and then use that data to develop a Three-Week Planner.
- Managing Production: Examines the concepts of individual versus system productivity. Participants will examine best industry practices for managing production, working more efficiently, and ways to motivate and set goals for a diverse workforce, including CW’s/CE.
- Safety: This module aims to introduce the concept of an Injury Free Environment and show how it is achieved through values and choice. It offers ways to motivate safe behavior and discusses critical safety practices.
- Communication: We will discuss why communication is important and explores the common barriers to good communication and how to resolve them. Participants will learn how to apply techniques to improve their daily communication and navigate through conflict situations and difficult conversations.
- Documentation: This module will cover the various documentation forms encountered on a project. Participants learn the importance of good documentation, what should be documented, and how to do it properly.
- Change Management: We will discuss how and why construction changes occur, the documents involved, how they are handled, priced, and tracked as well as the hidden costs and impacts of changes to the project.
- Project Closeout: We will look at the documentation necessary for the final stages of project completion, such as As-builts, commissioning, and punch lists, and the importance of customer service to ensure that future projects are awarded to our contractors.
- Understanding the Estimate, Part II (Advanced): Review both RS Means and NECA Labor Units and illustrate how to use the Estimate to determine your crew’s install rates. Labor tracking, a job budget, and the monthly Job Cost Reports that the Project Manager might provide will also be covered.
- Specifications (Advanced): Participants will work through various parts of an authentic set of Job Specifications using a set of activities. We will also talk about some of the legal issues involved. The purpose is to give students a working knowledge of the typical Spec. requirements utilized in today’s construction industry. (Approx. 3 hours).
- Highly Effective Foremen, Part I (Advanced): Utilizing some of the concepts presented in Steven Covey’s book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, students will learn how to improve their working relationships, communications skills, setting expectations, and team building. All of these skills are used to provide better direction and motivation on the jobsite and beyond.
- Highly Effective Foremen, Part II (Advanced): Setting team goals, planning and time management are additional skills that a highly effective Foreman must master. This module will cover those along with the “Tough Stuff”; Accountability, Performance issues, and Conflict Resolution.