The days of training tower technicians in the field without documenting what skillsets were learned are coming to an end. Centerline Solutions has taken the lead in creating and implementing the first nationwide set of standards and protocols for training wireless technicians through the Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (TIRAP). And many more companies are in the pipeline to become approved to institute the same apprenticeship program.
TIRAP, which is administered by the Wireless Infrastructure Association, provides a formalized method of training different skillsets coupled with on the job training, all documented by the Department of Labor.
“While Centerline Solutions already offered in-house training, the TIRAP program makes the training a more structured process,” said Clint Cook of Centerline Solutions. “TIRAP addresses the different skillsets within the different positions, and it is a nice way to make sure all the skill sets are covered in training.”
The training gives tower technicians a credential that they can carry with them as a professional anywhere they go to work.
“It raises the bar of professionalism for wireless technicians,” Cook said. “Now, they can display their skills during the hiring process.
In turn, it helps companies with hiring and vendors with selecting contractors. As an employer, Centerline Solutions can be confident that everyone coming out of the program has the same base of information to perform their job.
“Internally, it helps us do a better job of training,” Cook said. “Externally, it helps our customers know that we have good folks. It shows that we are taking the time and investment to really develop our workforce to be the best that it can be.”
The TIRAP program has financial incentives, as well. Centerline Solutions will be able to apply for grant funds from the Department of Labor to offset the training costs.
At the end of a TIRAP apprenticeship program, the training should prepare them well for the different exams given by the National Wireless Safety Alliance (NWSA) to test the competence of the climber. Cook also works directly with the NWSA as the national program instructor, teaching and accrediting the all the practical examiners across the country.
“TIRAP and NWSA work quite well together,” Cook said. “It’s important for those two organizations to dovetail well together, because they address different sides of the same issue.”