Training is one element of a business that can be seen as a “nice to have”, rather than a “need to have”. Scott Lidster, Director from Australian Earth is not only going to tell you how important it that organisations train their operators, but how they should embrace periodic training for greater results.
In a former life, I worked at a Caterpillar Dealership as an Operator Trainer. At the time, the 793F was Caterpillar’s latest and greatest release into the Off Highway Truck market from their stable. From an operator’s perspective, that truck was totally different to its predecessors and required a concerted effort when the familiarisation training was conducted.
This is how the training went. We would roll on to the site armed to the teeth with one almighty 793F familiarisation power point presentation that would take nearly three hours to deliver. Next, we would take our bleary eyed, bewildered operators out and conduct a reasonably comprehensive walk around inspection and cabin familiarisation of the truck. Then, we would run the truck and hopefully apply all the bits and pieces we had been discussing for half a day.
What I found was if, and I mean if, I was lucky enough to return to a particular site six months later, I was always bombarded with follow-up questions about the machine and some of the features and benefits of it. It made me realise how important periodic training really is.
Now, if we take that train of thought and apply it to Operator Proficiency Training, it is imperative that periodic training is considered. A lot of the time when I’m training an individual, I am usually suggesting how they can change their technique in some way. Sometimes it may only be small tweaks, sometimes it is wholesale changes to how an operator runs a piece of equipment.
Adult learning is a bit of a different animal and a couple of the Adult Learning Principles that stick with me are as follows: Adults need to know how the information is relevant and Adults look for help and mentorship. So, for training to be effective you need to let the candidates apply it over a period, then circle back to check in and see if there are any gaps that need to be trained.
There is also that thing about humans being creatures of habit, and once left to their own devices; some will choose to return to their old ways. Potentially forcing your owning and operating costs north and your production south.
To summarise, one-off training events make everyone feel warm and fuzzy. The big wins are made in the long game and embracing periodic training is one of those long game plays. Trust me; it will pay for itself ten times over for the life of your operator or for the life of the machine.