If students apply what Rheem teaches, their companies can become both more sustainable and more profitable. “Our message is not just ‘be green to save the planet.’ We share practical benefits and real-life success stories,” says Mark Roach, training manager at Rheem’s U.S. Water Heating Division. “Students may come in never having thought about running a sustainable business, but when they leave, they understand the importance of it.”
The events of 2020 have shifted the focus of some Rheem training. Prior to COVID-19, we were teaching more about sustainability best practices. In recent months, we’ve adapted our strategy to emphasize sustainability features and products. It’s a message that resonates with students right now, and it’s a great way to lead into best practices as a next step.
Expanding on these points, Philip Oglesby, education and content development manager for Rheem’s Air Conditioning Division adds, “If we don’t present the sustainability message in the correct context, it falls flat with a lot of our students.” He explains that Rheem has to give students the why, not just the what. “It comes down to marketing. When we present evidence like, ‘Your phone will ring more, and your average ticket price will go up,’ that’s when we get the buy-in. It’s factual, and it works.”
Additionally, on the labor shortage issue, part of our training mission is to convince Rheem’s entire distribution channel to encourage contractors to have an education plan as a way to increase their business. Providing their employees with ongoing opportunities for professional growth will help contractors attract good quality talent and be more competitive. And that education plan should include Rheem training. “We have training resources, and we know how to help businesses reach profitability sooner,” says Oglesby. “We believe in training as a tool to recruit people to our industry, as well as to recruit more contractors to sell our products.”
Around the world, Rheem is putting sustainability training into real-world action. For example:
- • In MEA, along with Leminar, our Air Conditioning partner, we launched a new ILC in July 2020. At this digitally advanced facility, Leminar’s customers benefit from live demonstrations and working models, which help them get hands-on experience and understand the detailed mechanisms behind our technologically advanced products. Since its opening, the facility earned the Dominic De Sousa Award for Innovation as well as a Climate Control Award.
- • In China, we opened a new ILC in September 2020, bringing our accelerated learning platform to a population that has been underserved by educational opportunities. The grand opening brought in distribution partners from across the region for a tree-planting event to highlight their commitment to “take root and grow together with Rheem China.”
- • In Australia, the Rheem Apprentice Plumber Grants Program pays for tuition, textbooks and tools for apprentice plumbers, many of whom come from underserved communities.
- • In Canada, we donate our equipment to high schools, technical schools and colleges as teaching aids in repair and installation classes. This helps to develop a new generation of technicians who enter the workforce already familiar with our sustainable technology.
- • In Mexico, we have an alliance with the public education sector and are the only brand licensed to certify technicians in key energy-efficient HVAC and water heating technologies.
To summarize the far-reaching sustainability effects of Rheem’s training efforts: this is a chance to go beyond the confines of one company and have a catalytic influence on the behavior of an entire industrial ecosystem. We want a better, healthier planet. That’s not just a marketing goal; it’s part our culture, and we’ve discovered that training is an effective way to achieve it.