The AED Foundation encourages employers to administer AED Foundation technical assessments to current and potential technicians to help evaluate technical knowledge and identify strengths as well as areas that need growth.
The questions in the assessment were written by AED members, equipment manufacturers, and technical colleges with equipment programs, and they adhere to AED’s national “Standards for Construction Equipment Technology” publication. There are 160 questions that focus on six key subject areas: diesel engines, powertrains, electric/electronics, A/C and heating, hydraulics/hydrostatics, and safety/administration.
The test itself is timed for 120 minutes and must be taken online with a proctor present. Online assessments allow for ease and efficiency. For example, test results are available immediately after completion and are added to a database that features individual and collective benchmarking information. When the time limit is reached, the test automatically “times out,” and the assessment ends. Extensions of the 120-minute time frame are available on an individual basis for qualifying circumstances.
Benchmarking data can be accessed easily via Admin Area logins. This information is valuable for the precedent and standard it sets for technicians entering the industry, and it acts as filter of quality assurance. The growth and success of the industry will be catalyzed as more and more of these assessments are taken and recorded.
If test takers experience computer failure or power outages, they only need to log back into the assessment to start from where they left off. No advanced computer skills are needed to take or administer the assessments, as the entire program is menu driven and designed for ease of use. In addition to these benefits, the tests are available in English as well as Spanish.
Should test takers have difficulty or confusion in navigating the program or completing the test, detailed instructions and quick reference sheets are available for download. AED Foundation staff members are available Monday through Friday during normal business hours via phone or email, and they personally and directly resolve customer issues.
Bruce Novak of Martin Implement Sales Inc. feels that this assessment should be an integral part of the hiring process for technicians. After a candidate is identified, the test should be given as part of their in-person interview. This allows employers to learn which areas need training, as well as to determine compensation levels based on experience.
According to Novak, the assessments are worth the time and money that it takes to administer them, for many reasons. For example, it costs more to hire someone as a technician only to find out later that they do not know how to operate as such, than it does to pay a fee of $100 for AED members or $200 for non-AED members to take the test. The assessments also save a lot of time in the hiring process, as they provide instant feedback about potential technicians. This verifies whether candidates can perform the tasks they claimed to know when applying.
The AED Foundation will provide access to the assessment website upon request. AED Foundation technical assessments are available for purchase online via credit card, and logins and passwords for individual companies are given almost immediately after payment.
Novak said that these tests promote investing in the workforces of the industry by identifying unskilled workers and by making workers better equipped to join teams. They also provide certainty and longevity to workforces by reducing turnover rates, because there is a greater emphasis on training weaker skill sets.
According to Vice President of Foundation Academic Accreditation Steve Johnson, who helped develop the assessments, “there are many reasons you should be using these tests: they’re based on the voice of the industry, they’ve been in use since 2012, dealers have reported their usefulness, and they save thousands of dollars in the long run.”
Johnson said there is a variety of knowledge in the technology industry, and these tests are a great way to highlight strengths and identify weaknesses based on those standards.
He also advocated for the recognition of skilled technicians through certification provided by the assessments. “Rewarding them for their efforts is great for retention and serves as an investment in hardworking technicians.” In addition, hiring certified technicians increases customer satisfaction as a result of fewer “redo’s.” According to Johnson, the tests serve as an easy and convenient way to benefit from the knowledge of equipment technical experts and the standards they set for the industry.
To learn more about The AED Foundation’s technical assessments, contact a Foundation staff member at 800-388-0650 or visit their website at www.aedfoundation.org.