Around the Globe with Workforce Development

Rachel Tindall | Aug 10, 2022

CEDIA is a global member organization dedicated to serving the home technology industry around the world. Our members are incredibly talented and make technological magic happen every day.  

Like any other industry, developing a skilled and robust workforce can be challenging. Providing quality educational opportunities, ensuring new professionals can handle the challenges jobsites put before them, and retaining great workers are challenges everyone is facing.  

Workforce development works hard to make connections and help local partners around the world face these challenges. Through building local networks, alongside local partners, CEDIA can help lead the industry through positive changes even when obstacles are daunting.  

The Americas 

In the United States, workforce development initiatives are largely focused on creating and sustaining educational partnerships.  

Orange Technical College, an ongoing technical education partner, was the first in the nation to collaborate with CEDIA, ESPA, and local industry partners on developing student training for the systems integration field. Orange Tech is still successfully providing training using a CEDIA framework to prepare students for technical industry work.  

TJ Thoss, Instructor – Enterprise Network & Electronic Systems Integration Orange Technical College, and CEDIA volunteer, says: “Working with CEDIA has been transformative for our school. CEDIA has been so supportive in developing our program and getting it off the ground. We’re excited to continue our partnership.” 

Thoss mentioned that since Orange has implemented technical training:  

  • All eligible graduates have found gainful employment in their field 

  • Industry partners consistently reach out looking for upcoming graduates 

  • Many students have jobs lined up before they complete the program 

Orange Technical College, among other educational partners, is working to help build the incoming workforce early on and provide high quality training that sets students up for success.  

The UK 

Our EMEA Education team recently met with the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, who support 47 University Technical Colleges (UTCs) across England, attended by more than 20,000 students ages 14 and 19. Baker Dearing is interested in working with companies from specific industries, including residential technology industry. Their goal is to help shape the UTC technical programs [programmes] so they can better reflect employer needs in each area. CEDIA will assist in steering these technical training programs [programmes] towards the needs of our members, with the aim of generating a steady stream of young talent into the industry. 

In the UK, CEDIA has formed a local working group of members who will guide how new materials are developed. This ensures they can effectively promote the fantastic local opportunities in the smart home technology industry, how important credible education and certification is to the industry, and the high standards of work. Not to mention how CEDIA can support them on their journey. 

Australia & New Zealand 

Australia and New Zealand represent a smaller but quite successful market. CEDIA Regional Consultant Paul Skelton recently hosted a local webinar announcing results of the first industry market research in his region.  

Unsurprisingly, workforce development is a top concern. The new research (reports forthcoming this October) shows staffing shortages seem to be tied to four primary factors:  

  • Dedication & loyalty to the industry: home technology requires near constant learning to stay up to date with current best practices, which some are unwilling to do. 

  • COVID vaccine requirements 

  • Career pathways (or perceived pathways) available in the field 

  • Remuneration: young and/or inexperienced workers often expect a high salary despite lack of qualifications and working industry knowledge. Small businesses, which make up most of the industry, simply can’t keep up with these demands. 

There’s also a pattern of disparity between commercial and residential integrators. The commercial sector can afford to pay more for workers with less experiences, which means many workers choose to go where the pay is higher.   

There are several great resources for finding skilled workers that remain largely untapped even though there are government incentives that may offset hiring costs. Some organizations to start with include:  

  • Asylum Seeker Resource Center (professionals may require visas) 

  • Disability Employment Services 

  • Returned & Services League of Australia for returned service members 

No matter where you are, you can become an advocate for workforce development in your area. Join CEDIA to help ongoing efforts in your area show the world what our industry can do.