Instrumentation & Control Training Modules2 July 2016
Blended Learning: increase the impact of training investments4 October 2016
Equipment and training systems degradation
Just as pumps fail, machines rust and bearings fail, employees’ skills and training systems become obsolete. Imagine if we modified equipment and did not analyse it, did not identify problems and solutions and did not ensure that the problem was truly solved: it would be nonsensical. So why would we do that with training?
Many companies favour training by having the trainee “follow” a job incumbent while he does the job. Knowing that industries from Quebec are similar to North-American industries in this field, we can rely on their studies’ results that reveal that 85% of this kind of training is so badly done that performance suffers in a quantifiable way. This kind of traditional training involves:
- Following an employee during their work day over a more or less long period (from a few hours to a few weeks)
- Observing them
- Learning by trial and error
This method does not meet the needs of today’s companies. Moreover, the manufacturing sector needs employees that are able to solve problems and assist with troubleshooting. This requires the mastery and renewal of skills that respond to the “why and how” of a task or equipment. If and employee doesn’t these skills, he/she cannot be a good troubleshooter.
It is obvious that the manufacturing industry needs a new structured continuing workforce development strategy.
Challenges and solutions
Workplaces face numerous challenges and obstacles that can impede productivity growth. Some are out of their control, but others, as the ones in the list below, can be acted upon.
- Required increase in productivity in order to stay competitive
- Loss of knowledge and know-how due to retirement, restructuring, increased competition and/or illness
- Reduction of operating budget and therefore of the money that can be invested in training
- Incumbent workers that have skills gaps
- Do more with less, thus make workforce development investments more profitable
Here are some examples of possible solutions to these challenges:
- A standard process for measuring skills linked with expected performance
- Availability of a modular and blended training curriculum
- Structured on-the-job training (OJT)
- Promotion of the professional status of the training function
- Optimizing the use of information technologies
It has been proven by the Conference Board of Canada that a strong learning culture has a direct impact on competitiveness. In this context, we must all roll up our sleeves to become more competitive in skills development and training. Ultimately, it is important to respond to the challenges associated with employees and jobs.