APTIM offers hands-on evaluation centers

Successful client outcomes start before the project even begins on the first day of work. Putting together a winning project team begins by selecting team members with the right skills to do the job at hand. How do you ensure you have chosen those people for your project?

APTIM uses hands-on evaluation centers to identify a person’s knowledge and skillset in a particular craft. This system allows APTIM to provide superior service to clients. “Permanent and mobile Craft Evaluation Centers™ are tools that help us drive quality of craftsmanship and ensure we only put quality craftsmen on client sites,” said Lance Allen, senior manager. Craftsmen typically are not asked to show anything except an NCCER card; oftentimes, this alone is not enough. The card does not illustrate if a candidate can do the job at the necessary skill level. Do they have the direct skill and knowledge required for a particular project? “Frequently we are told, ‘I am an A-Class craftsman,’ only to find out they have never done the actual work required of a specific position,” Allen said. The assessment conducted at an APTIM Craft Evaluation Center provides tangible evidence and validation of a craftsman’s skill level and gives peace of mind to APTIM clients.

The evaluation is the beginning of the hiring process. Well before a candidate can begin work and even before hiring a craftsman, APTIM evaluates all candidates for A-Class skill level. The company conducts this level of evaluation through hands-on craft skill evaluation and thorough and meticulous guidelines. “Evaluations are not subjective; they are very black and white. You can either do it or not,” said Allen. “Our evaluators know right away.”

“Evaluations are not subjective; they are very black and white. You can either do it or not,”
Optimizing Talent Assessment in Extraordinary Ways Optimizing Talent Assessment in Extraordinary Ways

Evaluators use a nine-part system of guidelines including categories such as safe work practices and PPE, tool and valve identifications, and other hands-on tasks that allow candidates to demonstrate their knowledge and ability to perform the job to the highest standards. The same guidelines are used by all evaluators for each craft. Safety, lockout/tagout, tools to be used — all these things make a good craftsman. Evaluations always start with safety. “We are a ‘safety first, people first’ company,” said Allen. A-Class evaluations are performed for millwright, pipefitter/fabricator, pipefitter/bolt-up and boilermaker. Soft craft evaluations are conducted for scaffold builders, painter/blasters and insulators. Evaluation centers are not training facilities. “We are not training anyone to be an A-Class millwright; we are evaluating whether or not the person is,” Allen explained. What happens to candidates who go through the evaluation and do not qualify with an A-Class rating? “We only evaluate A-Class,” said Allen. “If a candidate is B or C-Class, we send them back to recruiting to find availabilities for this skill level. They still have a chance to work for us, just not as an A-Class journeyman. This does not mean that people are left out or left behind. It just means we are meticulously matching the skillset to the position.”

APTIM clients have seen a significant difference in quality of craftsmanship and team dynamics. Word gets around. Not only does the evaluation process enable the APTIM team to match the highest skills to the job at hand, but they find the most skilled workers are gravitating toward them, wanting to be in a position that demands the highest craftsmanship. “Not only are our clients happy with a greatly reduced amount of rework; our nested workers are happier as well,” said Allen. “They do not have to bring new team members up to speed; everyone is able to be fully applied right away each day, and they know more skilled craftsmen are joining the team. Further, better craftsmen really like this evaluation.

“We often hear candidates tell us that if everybody went through this, we would all have better workers.” APTIM senior management asked site managers what they need to make APTIM “extraordinary,” and all agreed that a way to put better craftsmen on client sites was essential. The Craft Evaluation Centers are a result of commitment to innovation, collaboration and differentiation.