Training is critical to the success of your organisation, particularly as the baby boomers age out of the workforce and headcount is reduced, leaving a significant skills gap.
But how do you ensure that training actually solves this skills gap? Some organisations are guilty of training for the sake of training. It’s a tick-box exercise with little real-world value if it doesn’t actually help the right people develop the right skills. Is a course about maintenance relevant to your Quality Manager? Is a course about refractory brick installation really relevant to milling operatives? Training should be linked to the job profile of the employee, as well as their career development path.
One popular and effective training method is to rotate personnel around the plant as a way of exposing them to the whole plant operation. This is a really good tool for new employees who might have a grasp on the theory of cement manufacture but need real world experience. Once trained, it also gives you the flexibility to move personnel around should the need arise – for example, to cover holidays or sickness. The downside is that you need sufficient personnel to cover the skills gap that opens up in one department when the trainee moves to the next.
Another good method is to train the trainer. This involves providing experienced people in the plant with sufficient training in specific areas that they are able to carry out training and provide expertise as and when required, rather than continually sending personnel offsite or to a classroom to receive training from a third party. In our opinion, it’s in the plant’s best interests to keep as much expertise as possible within the organisation, though obviously this isn’t always possible.
Something else to consider is the method of training delivery. It is difficult (though not impossible!) to provide engaging classroom-based training on manufacturing topics. Studies show people forget about 90% of what they’ve learned within a week of leaving the classroom. The best way to address this is by creating a more engaging training program that is interactive, carried out in the field or using simulators, and which gives trainees the opportunity to implement what they are learning. And then follow-up and reinforce through ongoing practical experience and regular assessment. This doesn’t have to be formal, but if you notice a critical skills gap it is better to address it sooner rather than later. Mistakes can be expensive.
If you need training, or think there are skills gaps in your organisation that need patching, give JAMCEM a call. Our team is made up of highly skilled personnel with decades of experience across the entire cement plant. We can help you assess what training is needed and deliver it in the best way to ensure you maximise the potential of your employees.