For many 2021 graduates, a career in the trades is a way to continue their education while earning while they learn. For Isley Plumbing apprentices – they have the best of both worlds while they receive academic training AND on-the-job practical learning to help reinforce important plumbing concepts. A career in the trades usually requires advanced education and skills training gained through a means other than a bachelor's degree. Experience through over 7600 hours of on-the-job training with a licensed journeyman combined with over 570+ hours of classroom education prepare an apprentice to sit for the licensing exam.
Isley Plumbing apprentice plumber Ryan Puckett has been going to class and working side-by-side with an Isley Plumbing licensed plumber for 4 years. He shares he’s grateful for the opportunity to “earn while he learned” so that he could begin a new chapter in his career journey as an Indiana state licensed plumber.
“I had a lot of experience and was working in the convenience store industry,” shares Puckett. “But I knew it wasn’t what I wanted for a long-term career and most folks didn’t have the same enthusiasm for waking up every day and working on something fulfilling. There were days I was working my own shift, covering the next person’s shift, and then working my own shift again. I was looking for a company that had the same vision and mission to be successful and work hard as I did.”
Puckett moved on to a job that entailed delivering parts to several trade specific jobs and soon struck up conversations with several of the journeymen (licensed and experienced workers) who seemed to love their jobs and encouraged him to check out a job in the trades. He felt he already had a foot in the door in understanding what it would take to make a career change when he interviewed with Isley Plumbing.
“Isley’s was willing to take a chance on me and I can’t put into words how appreciative I am of that opportunity,” Pucket says. “They assisted me with the cost of school and I started working every day gaining hands on experience with one of their licensed and experienced plumbers from day one. They understand that if I am well-trained and educated that the investment in me will translate to my service to clients out in the field.”
After 4 years and 576 hours of education and 7600 hours of hands-on training, Puckett is about to graduate and sit for his journeymen’s exam. Once he has passed, he will be an Indiana licensed plumber and able to ride in a “truck of his own” out to Isley Plumbing customers.
“The Isley family has been running this company for over 100 years and I think they are successful because they not only treat their customers like family, but they treat their employees like family too,” Puckett says. “I don’t think many kids graduating these days set out to become plumbers, electricians or carpenters or go into the trades field. But these days if you look at the numbers and the price of education, more and more high schools are sharing that this is a great career option for many. The fact that Isley paid for my education and trained me was a true gift allowing me to be successful, grow in my experience and not go into debt at the same time.”
Co-owner Doug Isley also shares that those interested in becoming a licensed plumber with Isley Plumbing don’t need plumbing experience. “We prefer they have little to no experience so that we can help to train them in a way that promotes best practices in the plumbing field and teaches good habits.”
A blank slate, says Puckett, doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. It does mean you have the chance to write your own story. He encourages anyone wondering if a trades career is right for them to do some research and shares that the amount of time he invested to research his next career move to make sure he was putting his own feet on the right path was invaluable. “It feels great to get out there every day and do good work and feel good about where your career is headed. I’m glad I took the chance and reached out to Isley Plumbing. The rest has been fantastic.”
Away from work Puckett says he is a sports enthusiast and after a year of lockdown has enjoyed getting out to watch and coach baseball, watch some gymnastics and is getting into golf and soccer with his family. Life is good, says Puckett.