Bermudians benefit from on-the-job training
Persistence paid off for Bermudian Gary Williams, who this month begins his fourth year as a repair technician at CPR Phone Repair Bermuda.
Mr Williams is among six Bermudians who work full-time in the business and received on-the-job technical training at the highest revenue producing outlet in the CPR chain of some 750 stores worldwide.
He first approached co-owner and store manager Alex Jones when the business consisted of a kiosk in Washington Mall. Now, it occupies a 1,250-square-foot space on Washington Lane.
“It’s an industry that I had been trying to get into for a long while,” says Mr Williams, 43. “I had to haunt Alex for a whole year.”
Mr Jones said: “We opened up a desk when we moved to Washington Lane.”
Once hired, CPR paid for Mr Williams to take an online phone repair training course.
Mr Jones said: “We gave him a bunch of dead, broken phones and said ‘come back with one good one’, and he did. Gary had the follow-through and the passion.”
Mr Williams has taken on increasing levels of responsibility at CPR, and is now involved in inventory management and parts storage in addition to his repair duties.
Shawn DeShield, 49, was working in security and “looking for something different” when he joined CPR last February. He was breaking down an iPad mini for parts when he took a short break to speak to The Royal Gazette.
Mr DeShield said: “Security is more stressful, it’s either nothing or it’s nonsense, and you don’t know what’s going to happen.”
He added: “Here, I have to learn something every day and I’m working with my hands, which I enjoy.”
Mr Jones said an informal apprenticeship programme became more structured when Mr DeShield was hired, and he was given a checksheet of repairs to master.
“Shawn does a lot of quick repairs with a very high level of finish, he has a fantastic attention to detail,” Mr Jones says.
“This is, to some degree, a craftsman’s job. Quality repairs depend upon the attention to detail of the person doing the work.”
Shalquante Riley, 19, joined CPR on a full-time basis three years ago, while Daniel Grimes came aboard in November.
Ms Riley works primarily on the front desk, while Mr Grimes splits his time between the front desk and repair work.
She said: “I am really good with people, so I like to help people achieve what they are looking for.
“I am also expanding my knowledge and enhancing my skills about things that I might not know.”
That includes assisting with “common repairs that people come in for daily”, Ms Riley says.
Mr Jones said: “Shalquante is absolutely the most personable person I know.”
Mr Grimes, 27, said: “I originally joined CPR to help with the move to the new retail location in November, but they needed a few extra hands on the front desk, and I have done some tech work as well, the basics, learning the ropes.”
Mr Jones said Cedric Nunez, one of four repair technicians from overseas working at the shop, has played a key role in the development of CPR.
He said: “The reason we bought this repair business is that I spilt water on my mother board, and thought I’d have to replace it for $800. Cedric was able to fix it for $150.
“Everything this business is started with Cedric’s uniquely high level of skill, which hadn’t been done in Bermuda before.”
Mr Nunez’s expertise, and that of fellow ex-patriate technicians Tantan Apostol, Noel Macapugay and Ardie Fernandez, has benefited many local residents, Mr Jones said.
“If you added up the total value of all the devices that were saved instead of going to the trash, due to the skills of Cedric and our other skilled technicians, it has probably saved Bermudians millions of dollars, and that’s no exaggeration,” he explained.
“Everything we know started with learning from those overseas technicians. Our six full-time Bermudian staff all learnt on the job, including myself. We are trained basically from scratch. Cedric is also training our Bermudian part-time employee, Zorico Gilbert.
“We have had the luxury of a growing business, and it has given us the ability to create opportunities for Bermudians in an otherwise stagnant economy.
“These jobs would not exist if not for the skills that Cedric and the other foreign technicians have brought to Bermuda, and Bermudians would not get the level of service that is possible thanks to our foreign technicians.
“I am really proud of the staff, and what everyone has accomplished, and the level of service we offer, which is top rate not just for Bermuda, but for anywhere.”
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