There's no better way to learn about this trade than talking to someone who's done the training, and started work in the field.
That's exactly what we did this week, when we caught up with recent PAT graduate, Isaac Thomas.
Isaac took the Appliance Service Technician (AST) program back in August, 2017, and started his first job with Whirlpool Canada after graduating in February, 2018.
We talked with Isaac about why he chose appliance repair, what training was like for him, and what he's up to now at Whirlpool.
We also spoke with Whirlpool Canada rep, Ryan Monaghan. We found out what they're looking for in new hires, and exactly how the PAT-Whirlpool partnership gives our students a competitive edge on the job market.
By the end of this post, you'll have a better idea of whether appliance repair is the right trade for you—and how to get started.
What made Isaac choose appliance repair over all the other trades?
Passion plays a key role when you're choosing a career path. Ideally, you want to invest your time and money learning a trade you find truly interesting. For Isaac, it all started when he got some experience in the field through the family appliance repair business:
"I chose this trade because my grandfather owns a small business and I would occasionally help him on the road. This was something I grew passionate about and decided to further my education and make it a full-time career. "
Why the PAT Institute? How was your experience in the Appliance Service Technician program?
After figuring out what trade you want to focus on, the next big step is finding a reliable school that will help you launch your career. Everyone has different priorities when choosing a trades school—and each student faces different challenges in the classroom.
"I chose PAT Institute because I was looking for a school that offers a lot of hands-on training. I also wanted a trades school that was close to home. PAT was the best fit, on both counts.
For me, the best part of the Appliance Service Technician program was getting to trouble-shoot all the different types of appliances. I also really enjoyed dissecting the units, and learning how all the major appliances we use every day actually work.
The most challenging aspect for me was learning how to read all the various schematics we have in the appliance repair industry. For example, electrical and electronic schematics and charts. I didn't have much experience with this before starting the training."
How did Isaac land the job at Whirlpool Canada, and what's his role there?
Every student's goal is to find a great job at a respected company after finishing trades training. For Isaac, it was all about landing a job at Whirlpool Canada.
Whirlpool has a special partnership with PAT, where students get to train on their latest appliance models, and learn cutting-edge diagnostic skills.
It was a natural next step for Isaac to apply for a job there, and now he's doing what he loves best: troubleshooting technical issues, and working directly with customers.
"Upon graduating, I was given the opportunity to speak with Whirlpool and submit my resume. The position wasn't guaranteed. I had to go through an interview process, but in the end, I got the job.
I started out in a warehouse where I learned new skills, and expanded my knowledge. I dove deeper into trouble-shooting and was dealing with customers on a day-to-day basis. Now, I'm a technician on the road, working my own calls and always learning something new."
What key qualities does Whirlpool Canada look for in new hires?
If you're leaning toward a particular trade, it's always a good idea to research what industry leaders are looking for in new hires for that trade. What skills and characteristics are considered most important? What specific strengths will you need to compete for top jobs?
Ryan Monaghan from Whirlpool Canada says it all boils down to a few key competencies:
"First of all, we look for electronic/diagnostic skills, which the student has learned from classroom theory and hands-on practical experiences. We want to hire technicians who embrace technology, and are computer-savvy. We also like to see business management knowledge and great customer service skills. These are essential for success at Whirlpool."
Isaac, what skills have you found are most important on-the-job?
Every new trades student wants to know what they'll actually be doing, out in field, after they've landed their first job. Which skills will end up being most important in their day-to-day work?
Isaac says that for him, it's a combination of technical knowledge and client communication:
"I use trouble-shooting and customer services skills, along with basic electricity knowledge, every single day. But to really succeed in this field, appliance technicians must be able to communicate well with a wide range of customers.
You need to educate your clients, and break down those complex concepts into something they can easily understand. If you can do this, you'll build trust and gain their confidence, which is really important."
What's next for Isaac?
The first thing to know about building a successful trades career, is that you'll never stop learning. There's always some new technology, tool, or regulation to be aware of. You have to embrace these challenges, to really stay on top of your game.
For Isaac, that means heading back into training, to take his appliance repair skills to the next level.
"My next step is to obtain my G2 licence so I can expand my career options in the appliance industry. If you want to pursue a career in this field, you need to dedicate yourself to continuous learning. It's all about maintaining a strong work ethic, and always seeking to improve yourself".
What's next for the appliance repair industry?
Ryan Monaghan agrees that fast-changing technology is opening up new opportunities in the appliance repair field. But only for technicians who are able and willing to keep up.
"The industry is changing with new major appliances being more computerized, WiFi enabled and sophisticated. Technicians need to be more tech-savvy than ever, and have new skills and expertise to capitalize on the growing demand for appliance technicians across Canada."
Whirlpool says this is why they've partnered with the Pre-apprenticeship Training (PAT) Institute. It's all about developing the next generation of appliance repair technicians—professionals who understand the latest technology, and are fully prepared to deliver that expertise to customers...the "Whirlpool Way".
"Our greatest product is our people. We’ve become industry leaders by attracting, developing and retaining talented people who believe improving lives and making a difference matters."
It looks like Isaac found the perfect fit at Whirlpool. Congratulations to him, and a big thank-you to Whirlpool Canada for talking with us this week.
Best of luck to all of this year's Appliance Service Technician students!
Learn more about Herzing's Appliance Service Technician Program
If you think appliance repair is the right trade for you, and want to learn more about training, there are a couple of easy ways to get started.
Chat live with an Admissions Advisor to explore the program and get your questions answered.
Or click below to browse the Appliance Service Technician program and get more information. We're here to help!