A Tale of a Mans Experience with On-The-Job Training in Cell Phone Repair
Yes! I just signed the Letter of Employment with Company X. The manager assured me that it is ok that I do not have experience with mobile phone repair. He already arranged for someone who has many years of experience to train me. I thanked him profusely and looked forward to getting started.
On my first day, I underwent the HR On-boarding; the history of the company, organizational structure, employee badge, etc. On the second day of my job as a Technical Specialist, my manager introduced me to the different team members of the repair workshop.
”This is Mr. B; the most experienced guy here who can repair ALL models of the Motorola cell phones,” my manager introduced, “and he will train you on the repair of mobile phones this afternoon.”
After all the welcome greetings and introductions, I was led to my seat. On my table, were all the necessary tools and equipment, all sparkling and brand new.
To the left, I could see 3 folders; actually, they were the service manuals for 3 of the mobile phone models. “Read them,” I heard a voice from behind me say, it was from my trainer, Mr. B.
I nodded and started to go through the service manual. As I have no experience with cell phone repair, I struggled to understand what I was reading.
However, I continued on, as I was instructed, to finish reading them. By the time I finished reading the 3 folders, it was lunch time and my peers asked me to join them. Mr. B did not come along, as he had other plans for lunch, but he told me that the training will start after lunch at 1300 hours.
I returned from lunch at 1300 hours and sat at my desk to wait for Mr. B to train me. At around 1330, he appeared with 2 faulty mobile phones.
Learn While You Earn with OJT
Mr. B demonstrated how to do a visual check first, followed by a functional check. As the phone could not be powered on, he started to disassemble the phone.
He was fast due to his experience, and the phone was now disassembled down to its circuit board, lying on the anti-static mat. He continued to explain how to measure the resistance before connecting the power to the circuit board.
I asked him why it was necessary to do so and he replied: ”You should know, right?” Then he connected the power to the circuit board and started using the oscilloscope to measure the DC voltages and signals.
Mr. B was so familiar with the schematic of the phone that he didn’t even need to refer to it. He showed the 5 points to measure and only briefly explained what the points were.
To my shock and amazement, he then asked me to replace the filtering capacitor near the power connector. I couldn’t grasp what he had taught me, I was still puzzled how he knew what the defective component was.
I replaced the capacitor and voila! The phone could now be powered on. Mr. B said, “Easy, right?” I nodded sheepishly and before I could ask any further questions, Mr. B said, “All I have shown you is explained in this service manual,” as he pointed to one of the folders. “Here is one more device for you to repair, I’ll come back before tea break”.
Success Awaits You Right Outside Your Comfort Zone
I was so nervous that I began to sweat. It would take me days to even read and understand the service manual of one model. Now I’m instructed to repair 2 defective phones in less than 2 hours?
Left with no choice, I took the second defective phone and tried to power it up. Unable to power it up, I started to disassemble the unit while I referred to the disassembly section of the manual.
Struggling, I finally managed to disassemble the phone down to the circuit board. With a multi-meter, I measured the resistance across the battery terminals…the reading showed a short-circuit.
This was not the same symptom as the one Mr. B demonstrated. I became anxious and started to look for an answer in the service manual under Can’t Power On. I found the different flowcharts for “Can’t Power On”, followed the instructions but still, the fault remained. Time flew and Mr. B came back.
Never Give Up, Never Surrender
“Are you done repairing the 2 units?” he asked. I shook my head and explained my situation. He showed disappointment in his face and instructed me to remove the few components and measure the resistance again.
The short-circuit was no longer there, so he asked me to measure the components that I had removed to determine which one was causing the short-circuit. It was a different capacitor this time.
“Didn’t you read the manual?”, he asked rudely. The rest of the day, I read through the manual and practiced measuring the different signals while referring to the schematics. Honestly, I could not understand the schematics, I only followed the flowcharts for the different faults. In my mind, I was thinking: “Who’s going to teach me the fundamentals, the theory?”.
The next morning, my manager called me to his room. There was another guy in the room. “Meet Mr. G, our Senior Technical Specialist who just returned from Taiwan,” my manager continued, “He will be your next trainer”. I shook his hand and thanked him in advance.
Comforting Reassurance from an OJT Specialist
Mr. G put his arm around my shoulder and said in an assuring tone, “We will get you confirmed as a Technical Specialist, I have planned the training for you.” Mr. G sat with me next to my desk and started to coach me, starting with the fundamentals.
He then disassembled one faulty unit, explained to me where the different sections of the circuits are and the test points to measure for Can’t Power On.
Throughout the training, he referred to the corresponding service manual. He demonstrated what he taught, answered all my questions and then he watched as I practiced.
After 2 hours with Mr. G’s guidance, I found the faulty component and was able to explain how and why it caused this fault. My confidence was restored in OJT and Mr. G passed me another defective phone to repair.
Within an hour, I managed to repair it. That day, I repaired 6 defective phones, a 300% improvement! In the next few days, Mr. G trained me on the other top failures and provided me with the defective units to troubleshoot and repair.
For that week, I repaired 40 units instead of the usual 10. During the following weeks, I succeeded in repairing 10 units per day. It took me another 3 weeks before I reached the repair target of 15 units per day.
Yes, I was confirmed after my 3 months’ probation. Most importantly, it proved that a well-structured OJT is highly effective to acquire skills regardless of your educational qualifications. One year later, I became highly competent in my job, all thanks to my OJT mentor.
In apprenticeships, structured OJT is the key element that trains you on the required skills and enables you to earn while you learn. I would certainly choose an apprenticeship as it would guarantee me a job where I can learn skills and apply them to further my career to earn a stable income.
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The author of this OJT experience is Andy, who we met on Instagram on his IG handle @ayeo99. He is an OJT Specialist with more than 10 years’ experience in OJT in more than 10 countries. After getting to know him via chat and learning of his passion for OJT and the value in which he regards it, we knew we wanted to hear his story and feature it in our Blog section. You can find more content from clicking here.
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