First of all this company is owned by solid rock excavation and they are not a real school, just a company run money scheme. They claim to have certified instructors for their crane programs and what they have is one guy for a class of 12-13 people (Thats not even legal).
ATS has one other person who is teaching classes and instructing student during hands on crane operations however he is nothing more than a guy who used to deliver gasoline to the other heavy equipment on the field. He has no more experience (in fact less...way less) operating a crane than any student that comes through the door.
This individual happens to be the cousin of the owners wife. He in fact spent a large portion of the 4 week class teaching half of our group the absolute wrong way to do a load chart (if you are familiar with crane operating you know this is your bible). He got pulled out of teaching classes and the ONE certified instructor then had 13 students to instruct...9 out of 13 failed the entire class, practical, core, and specialties.
Next, when you get your brochures there are a lot of nice machines that claim to be in like new condition (haha, jokes on you). This equipment had wooden blocks jammed in place holding the throttle, hydraulic fluid spewing from everywhere (which I do have pictures of). The machinery had 16,000 plus hours of operation, and they claim to require 1 machine for every 4 students, what they have is 2 machines for all 13 of us (which half the time weren't even usable due to required maintenance) So for my nearly 6000$ for a 4 week course I spent much of my time standing around kicking dirt as did the rest of my class mates who increasingly got more frustrated.
Now let me say this...I do not expect brand new equipment for students with virtually no experience, but when you have paid for valuable class and seat time that is not being received due to the equipment being in such disrepair that is unacceptable! When we all only have 4 weeks to learn everything required for our tests which I might add are also quite expensive (About 200+ a day!).
Now I will get to the NCCCO tester. This man is good buddies with the owner and they happen to eat together every weekend (so was told by the owner himself [Bob] in front of all of us in the class room). Now after bringing all these concerns to the attention of Bob he was quite irate and threatening...forcing all of us to sign a contract stating that we would not bring this matter up again unless we wanted to be immediately dismissed (forfeiting all our money)
It is my suspicion that Bob and the NCCCO tester had a discussion about this based on the comment that was made to the 6 of us testing on our specified day that went: "I understand that a lot of you do not believe that I will test you fairly and I am disappointed but I will assure you that I test everyone based on the rules set forth by NCCCO". How would this statement have been made unless they were speaking off the cuff in a friendly manner regarding the students? Can they do that? If so, Should they?
This now brings me to another VERY important point. During our test orientation it was never said to us that the testing procedure had changed. ALL of us for the entire 4 week period of class were told that if we go over our time, not to be concerned as it was ONLY 1 point for every 10 seconds over. This had changed to 1 point for every 3 seconds. This is NOT written in any manual nor was it explained at any time during our test orientation. IN FACT our NCCCO tester had said the same thing we all had been hearing through out the entire 4 weeks: "do not worry about the time, it is not critical to your score. I want you all to take your time and be safe". Then when asked how many points it is for going over on our time, we were all told what we were always told, confirming "1 point for every 10 seconds"!
For testing you have a maximum of 25 points, now there are 4 tests, 1 being hand signals, 2 getting your ball into two 55 gallon drums, 3 placing a 2 ft. chain into a painted circle, 4 navigating the zig zag maze. I wont go through all the points for each but as you can already see there are a lot of areas to be tested on...a difference between 10 seconds and 3 seconds changes weather you pass or fail quite simply.
1 point for every 10 seconds is 6 points per minute over; compared to 1 point for every 3 seconds bringing that all the way up to 20 points for 1 minute. WHAT?!? How is it that we were not told about this?!?
Job placement?! This consists of a packet of papers with a couple names and phone number of company's who have NEVER heard of ATS School for heavy equipment operating and they are NOT even hiring. Where do they get these names?!? The rest of the packet are names of web sites to post your resume and some tips on writing a resume. What idiot cant figure that out?!
This company does their own financing however they do not have competent people communicating the same information from location to location. I went from South Florida to Watkins CO on a stiff budget calculating all the numbers such as food, gas, hotel, laundry, etc... then when i get there it is explained that there was a mix up with my financing (and they admitted to their own error!!! I have the signed documents for my original agreement and the new ones that point out the mistake) and I would need to pay an extra 500$ in cash that I did not have which left me calling family and friends so I wouldn't be kicked out of school!
Not one of the instructors (with the exception of the non-certified family member so-called instructor) had ANYTHING good to say about the company at all...this all came out more and more as the 4 week class went on and we all got more comfortable with one another. Our certified instructor was asking us for job leads and asked us to send him the information (we all have his cell number for texting purposes) so he could get the heck out of there ASAP!
In closing, if anyone has another option DO NOT place your money in ATS! Even if you dont have another option you are better off cleaning up puke at your local elementary school. At least then you wouldn't have 6000+ in loans to pay off for absolutely nothing! I have at least 9 other people that will COMPLETELY back me up on every word of this and I am sure if I did some digging I could find many, many more!
delray beach, Florida