Training: It's All About the Students
Once again, I had the privilege of instructing a Bostik seminar in Mexico City with fellow NWFA regional instructor, Leonard Hall of Endurance Floors in Florida. Last year after the seminar, only one word sufficiently described the event: Epic. We had approximately 185 students for three days of hands-on learning with two instructors.
With 85 attendees, this year’s event was smaller, which was good because there were just the two of us again as instructors, as well as the Bostik staff. But once again, it was another epic event (Photo 1).
So you might ask, “Okay, Jon, what was so special about this training?” It’s the students—the attitude and energy they bring to the event. These events are some of the most labor-intensive to set up and breakdown, yet they are some of the most rewarding as well.
The hands-on portion of the training is where things get exciting. Typically when we instruct, the students are given a certain amount and type of hardwood flooring to work with. The hardwood is usually donated so we never know what we’ll be installing until the time of the event, but there is usually enough of one product to install on each panel. Instructors covered proper techniques from subfloor prep, layout, moisture testing and installation (Photos 2-5), and then we let the students decide the layout. As the students in Mexico City got comfortable using Trammel points, they let their creativity start to flow. The last two groups that we trained in Mexico decided to create patterns and mix it up with different species of wood that were on site.
It’s great seeing the unique patterns and individuals coming together and working as a team (Photos 6-8). The excitement and passion of the students passes on to the instructors as well; there are days when you wonder, “Am I really making a difference?” when you see and hear of all the installation failures, the shortage of qualified installers, and the lack of the younger generation coming into the trades. As an instructor, I can say after an event like this, keep the faith. We’re all making a difference.