5 Reasons to Start Your Own Training Academy Now

Insights Blog | 3 min read | April 15, 2024

- By Jeff Atwell, NexTech Academy Workforce Development Coach

In 2018, when we debuted NexTech Academy – Nexstar Network’s flagship online technical training school – it raised more than a few eyebrows.

In this industry, apprenticeship programs and on-the-job training had been the status quo for decades, so the idea that one could train their own technicians in-house wasn’t too far-fetched. An in-house school, however, just seemed like a fantasy – something that couldn’t possibly done.

Fast-forward six years, and that fantasy has become reality. NexTech Academy took off – did it ever! Nexstar member-owners began to see what NexTech’s workforce development resources could do to fuel their businesses forward. With feedback from our early adapters, we tweaked our programs, and then we tweaked them some more. And now, with more than 1,200 NexTech Academy graduates later, the idea of an in-house academy has become a key component to the future success and growth plans of residential service businesses.

Interested? Here are five solid reasons you should start your own training academy today:

1. You have direct control over the quality of technicians that your training program produces.

When you start with a clean slate (a beginner student), you determine the levels of satisfactory student performance as you create 5-star technicians. You can train on both the hard and soft skills you specifically need in your business. We’ve found that NexTech Academy grads quickly meet department averages after they transition to the field with the proper field mentorship and support, and then rise to become top performers. You can train your students to be the technicians you need.

2. The return on your training investment is astronomical.

Outside of a dedicated skills lab, the most significant and recurring costs of the NexTech Academy Training Model are having full-time students and retaining a dedicated trainer. Historical NexTech Academy data shows that on average, most students trained within the academy model complete training in six months.
Workforce Development Coaches at Nexstar have a worksheet available to paint a more accurate picture of the estimated costs involved with training. But here’s the thing to know: Your training academy will pay for itself within a few months.

3. Candidates with good character are much easier to find than candidates with experience.

The barista who can manage numerous orders and keep up with production. The cashier who calmly interacts with difficult customers. The young waiter at your favorite restaurant who offers excellent service every time. Who are these people? They’re great potential candidates for your training academy. You’re surrounded by examples of people with a good character and work ethic every day, and your next incredible service technician might be right in front of you. Hire for character and train for skill, and watch your recruitment efforts soar.

4. Build from the inside up; class size can scale to the needs of your business.

How fast do you want to grow your business? Do you want to add two technicians or 20 technicians this year? A structured curriculum, like those found in NexTech Academy’s Tech Builder Learning plans, offers uniform training at any scale, any time of the year. You can build the workforce you need.

5. Producing your own technicians forces the rest of your team to level up.

Did you know that many technicians are competitive? When top performers are displaced by freshly minted technicians, that competitive nature kicks in, and everyone’s game improves. Feedback from leaders gradating their own inhouse NexTech Academy technicians have shared that once students transition to the field and are using the Service System consistently, they become top performers in their organizations, often out-performing experienced technicians. If everyone levels up, the whole company wins.

In-house training academies have come a long way in the last several years. Companies that have embraced this model of training have found tremendous success. If you’re waiting to see if an in-house training academy can work, your wait is over. This is working.

Nexstar members, visit NexTech Academy to learn more about what Nexstar offers in the way of comprehensive workforce development resources, curriculum options, coaching, and expertise through our Tech Builder, On-the-Go, and NexTech Select offerings. Then, contact your Workforce Development Coach today!

If you own or operate a home service business and are curious to learn more about our membership, please click here to get started!

Jeff Atwell started in the plumbing trade the first business day after his high school graduation. He has more than 30 years of experience with residential and commercial service, as well as residential new construction, and discovered a passion for teaching as an instructor at his local apprenticeship school. Jeff was the first workforce development coach hired to work on the NexTech Academy program. Since then, he has been supporting Nexstar members while working to create the best program focused on residential plumbing services.

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