Nov. 7, 2011

For several decades I have been an ice hockey referee. The rule book for hockey has hundreds of pages. While there are some very specific, easily learned rules to the game, there are also many nuances to the game which take time and experience to master. In order to keep a constant flow of good, knowledgeable new referees, the hockey community has instituted a mentoring program. Most lower level hockey games are operated by two referees. The mentoring program schedules an experienced referee and a beginner referee for these games. The beginner referee is given every opportunity to run the game and make decisions. However, if any call is made incorrectly, the experienced referee can quickly step in and solve the problem. Beginner referees learn by example and hockey continues to build a great pool of experienced referees for the future.

The population is growing and so is the need for additional security. Yet all indications are that the amount of locksmiths is declining. A noticeable trend at almost every locksmith convention is that the amount of attendees decreases while the median age of the attendees increases. At a time when people are looking for work, this is a puzzling situation.

At one time mentoring was an integral part of the locksmith business. The business was handed down from father to son or daughter. Siblings learned by watching and practicing. Sometime in the last few decades it seems that other occupations have generated more interest and many young people have chosen to not follow in their parents footsteps.

Locksmith remains a viable, profitable business. The thinking today is that every young person has to go to college, incur an average tuition debt of $25,000 and sit behind a desk forever. We need to show young people that our trade offers a good way to learn a life-long, honest, challenging occupation which may have just as many future opportunities as college.

My father had me working at his locksmith store each day after school. During my life as a locksmith, I always had a high school or college student working in our locksmith store. Two of those students have continued on in the security field and are now working for well-known lock manufacturers.   It was a valuable experience for me, for my business, for locksmithing and for the foundation for life of the several young people who have worked in our store over the years.