Employers place a strong emphasis on essential skills in the workplace. Essential skills are used in nearly every occupation, and are seen as ¿building blocks¿ because people build on them to learn all other skills.
Each profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skill is generally performed by the majority of workers in an occupation. The estimated complexity levels for each task, between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced), may vary based on the requirements of the workplace.
This unit group includes heating, refrigeration, air conditioning, millwrighting and elevator installation trade contractors who own and operate their own businesses. This group also includes supervisors who supervise and co-ordinate the activities of workers classified in unit groups within the following minor groups: Machinery and Transportation Equipment Mechanics (Except Motor Vehicle) (731), Automotive Service Technicians (732) and Other Mechanics (733). They are employed in a wide range of establishments; places of employment are indicated in the unit group descriptions.
- Find that conflicts among crew members are slowing work. They separate workers to ensure safety and to restore productivity. They later meet privately with the individuals to explore the roots of conflicts, discuss work options and resolve differences. (2)
- May discover that their workers cannot immediately complete repairs, services or installations due to inclement weather, lack of required parts and equipment breakdowns. They inform clients about potential delays and arrange to pay additional fees to cover express shipping costs. For example, a boat engine repair foreperson communicates directly with suppliers to locate specialized engine parts and expedite special orders before explaining delays to customers. (2)
- Find that their crews are not completing reporting forms correctly. They speak directly to their workers and organize meetings to review data recording and reporting procedures. They may point out the negative effects of incomplete information such as compromising quality control and historical data. They monitor workers' reporting on documents and provide additional feedback to ensure the information is correct. (3)
- Find that workers are disgruntled and voice complaints about work conditions. They attempt to resolve workers' concerns by speaking with them directly, demonstrating empathy and avoid making false promises to cater to unreasonable demands. They clarify issues and then engage workers to identify possible solutions. Supervisors may pass concerns on to management and business owners. (3)
- May encounter customers who cannot pay or are unhappy with the quality, price or timeliness of jobs. They visually inspect the work, review cost estimates and present clear documentation of work carried out. They diplomatically describe the tasks undertaken to complete the jobs, provide cost breakdowns of parts and labour charges and may negotiate cost reductions to satisfy customers. They may call collections agencies to secure payments if customers are unable or unwilling to pay for jobs. (3)
- May encounter mechanical faults that are uncommon and have not been documented in service manuals, bulletins, recall notices or other manufacturers' information. They may call manufacturers' hotlines or service technicians to relay the nature of the faults and seek their advice. For example, air conditioning and refrigeration contractors call manufacturers' service hotlines when their workers cannot completely repair new air exchange systems. (3)
- Choose training topics and methods for workers they supervise and employ. They review their performance over time and match their experience with relevant training opportunities. (2)
- Determine job assignments according to workers' technical skills and preferences. (2)
- Choose supplies, tools, and parts needed to complete installation, maintenance and repair jobs. For example, a heating, ventilation and air conditioning contractor selects ducting sizes and hanger types to complete a small forced-air furnace installation. (2)
- Choose sanctions and rewards to discipline and motivate workers they supervise. They may reprimand employees who consistently miss work or production targets and praise those who always meet production or service goals. For example, a heating systems contractor gives pay increases to workers who consistently complete repairs and installations without faults or delays. (3)
Job Task Planning and Organizing
Own Job Planning and Organizing
- Evaluate training needs of their workers. They consider current business trends and skill shortages within their organizations and examine licensing or regulatory requirements for training. For example, supervisors of automotive mechanics assess the need to train their mechanics in gasoline-electric hybrid engine service and repair. (2)
- Judge the condition of mechanical parts and systems. They may synthesize data from diagnostic tests and compare it to information in service manuals and manufacturers' bulletins. For example, a supervisor of aircraft maintenance technicians evaluates the condition of landing gear systems by testing and inspecting struts, tires, wheels and brakes. A refrigeration contractor may evaluate the working condition of a walk-in cooler by checking and testing the thermostat, looking for sources of heat inside and near the cooler and by verifying and testing the integrity of the insulation. (3)
- Evaluate the quality of work of various installation, maintenance and repair work completed by their workers. They closely inspect the work, take measurements and analyze production data. They may compare measurements and operating data to manufacturers' specifications and legislated standards. For example, a heating systems contractor inspects the installation of a large wood burning furnace to ensure it meets the National Fire Code of Canada specifications. An aircraft servicing leader inspects scheduled maintenance work to ensure it meets quality guidelines in Transport Canada's Airworthiness Manual. (3)
Contractors and supervisors of mechanic trades establish their own work schedules and shift priorities and appointments to accommodate emergencies and cancellations. They often determine how best to organize their work to meet deliverables and timelines of team-based projects while supervising multiple job assignments. They use their judgment and experience to coordinate and integrate job tasks with other workers and to decide job priorities. Contractors and supervisors of mechanic trades must frequently rearrange their schedules to meet clients' requests, deal with faults and mechanical failures and may participate in impromptu meetings in the midst of their daily routines. Because their tasks may vary greatly in both the types of tasks they face and the order they complete them they must prioritize tasks to maintain efficiency.
Planning and Organizing for Others
Contractors and supervisors of mechanic trades plan work and develop schedules for workers. They plan their workers' days, schedule appointments and adjust schedules in response to customers' demands. They review turnaround times for repairs and installations and diverse skills of their workers to ensure they assign job tasks to appropriate workers. They change work assignments and schedules to maintain and improve efficiency.
Significant Use of Memory
- Remember step-by-step procedures for carrying out common repairs and installations.
- Recall which dealers and suppliers offer the most competitive prices and rates when ordering parts and supplies.
- May remember the names of customers, clients and suppliers to build rapport with them.
- Find information about the legal requirements and standards for the jobs they carry out. For example, an aircraft maintenance supervisor refers to the Airworthiness Directives handbook published by Transport Canada to locate information about safety and regulatory requirements for aircraft being inspected or repaired. A heating systems installation contractor refers to the provincial Environmental Protection Act to determine the oil tank replacement periods of fuel storage tanks. (2)
- Find technical data and specifications of tools, equipment and materials. They read service and repair manuals, review job histories and talk to senior mechanics and other experts. (3)
Other Essential Skills:
Working with Others
Contractors and supervisors in mechanic trades often work alone or independently to provide professional guidance and oversight to maintenance and installation tasks and projects. They assume a wide variety of roles to coordinate their own job tasks with those of junior workers, co-workers and subcontractors. Supervisors working in large businesses and corporations may report to other department heads and coordinate their work according to company mandates for communication, meetings and projects. Contractors are usually responsible for managing the technical and administrative aspects of their businesses. In some cases, contractors and supervisors in mechanic trades may work as part of a larger project team, collaboratively working to complete mechanical repairs and equipment installations. (3)
Contractors and supervisors in mechanic trades must learn continuously to keep abreast of new technologies, new information and regulatory changes within their industries. For example, heating and ventilation contractors must constantly review provincial fire regulations; aircraft maintenance team leaders read air safety bulletins and federal transport legislation to keep their knowledge current. They may learn about new products and technologies through reading manuals, magazines and other materials at work and on their own time, through on-the-job experience, and through discussions with workers they supervise. They also study service manuals to become familiar with repair and installation work, and read service bulletins about new products or particular faults. They may participate in seminars, courses, and other learning opportunities through their employer or industry association. (3)