Apprenticeships are Vital in Developing the Next Generation of Workers


Trevor Matthews worked in refrigeration until he admittedly, lost his joy. Greg Crumpton refers to it as a complacency rut, “in a rinse repeat cycle.” Today Matthews, Founder of Refrigeration Mentor, has re-sparked his joy.

“Refrigeration Mentor started because I have a passion for the refrigeration industry,” said Matthews. He recognized a void in the commercial refrigeration space, where professional development, training, education, and mentorship have the potential to thrive. Matthews works with technicians and contractors, helps identify their skills, and creates programs to elevate their strengths.

Trevor’s passion for training and educating others. “I thrive when seeing people progress,” said Matthews. He invested in his training and education. He returned to university to train others. So, why does this matter? First, blue-collar jobs lead the way in on-the-job training, but Matthews recalls feeling overwhelmed and anxious in the early days of his career. He admits there were times he didn’t know what to do. After training, we “hand over the keys and send them out,” said Matthews. “Data out there that people perform at their best through mentorship,” said Crumpton. Crumpton expands, “it’s accountability, is what it really comes down to.”

In Matthews’s experience, there’s a total lack of professional development, career progression, and check-ins. Managers need to create regular check-ins with their team to help them develop and encourage their growth. Matthews would like to see further development in “guide[ing] students and new people in finances.” The influx of money from working as a refrigeration technician can get some young, immature newbies into trouble. They also need to be able to see a future in their careers. Throughout the refrigerator tech’s career, there are multiple pathways. Matthews mentions “a project manager, sales, and engineering” as a few opportunities for development.

This trend isn’t isolated to refrigeration. According to Hustle, a recent Opportunity@Work study found there are 32m Americans who lack college degrees but have the skills to transition to higher income jobs. “New Collar Workers” are those who previously held blue-collar or labor jobs and are now transitioning into desk jobs. Specifically, as technology intertwines into every industry, this trend is expected to develop. NU Property Casual believes that expanding apprenticeships is key to developing the next generation of the workforce. Maintaining that workforce going is going to take more mentoring and career development.

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