It’s no surprise that locksmithing, like nearly all trades, is experiencing an “age dilemma”. The younger guys, and I say this as a 30-year-old, aren’t flocking to trades, or at least at a pace decent enough to replace those who are leaving much less meet outstanding demand. Whereas other trades might be better suited to survive or perhaps even overcome this dilemma, such as electricians or pipe fitters with unions and localized education and recruiting options, we’re at a disadvantage largely due to our trade’s fragmentation. Be that as it may, I don’t believe it it’s our industries’ death knell; far from it, actually.
Now with all that said, how would you fix our trade’s age dilemma? How can we help fill our ranks and keep our trade flourishing? That’s not a rhetorical question, I’m generally interested in your thoughts. Please, leave a comment below with your idea(s). There are no wrong or right answers, only opinions, and welcomed ones at that.
My personal belief to fix the age dilemma is by paying it forward. To quote Wikipedia, paying it forward is “an expression for describing the beneficiary of a good deed repaying it to others instead of to the original benefactor.” I’ve decided that the best way to truly pay it forward in this industry is to help those looking to get into this trade. It’s a win-win if you think about it. Not all of us were born into this trade; I would be willing to bet that a large majority of us are 1st generation locksmiths. And even if you were born into this trade, none of us walked into this trade day 1 knowing everything and we certainly didn’t learn it all on our own. We had a mentor, or mentors, who helped us along the way.
While “helping” may mean different things to different people, the degree in which you “help” is entirely up to you. Maybe helping is mentoring someone you’ve already hired or someone you work with or the younger guy at your local association/chapter, maybe helping is answering questions or giving advice to someone looking to get into the trade or new to the trade, maybe helping is hiring an apprentice or speaking at a career day at the local high school. Whatever you define as helping, I see no wrong to it. Perhaps the best way to solve the age dilemma and ensure the future of this trade is to all start being proactive ambassadors to it. Perhaps the best way to pay our mentor’s back, since they thought enough of the trade to help others in it, is to pay it forward by helping out the next group.