9 Aug, 2018
5 Reasons To Train In-House
As an instructor for John M. Campbell | PetroSkills for the past nine years I’ve seen the industry in many different states and delivered a wide array of training methods. In the last few years, my training load has shrunk as most of us have felt the sands beneath us shift, but my workload on in-house sessions has risen sharply to nearly three quarters of the sessions I deliver. I have drilled this down to one factor and that’s the effectiveness the training can have and ultimately, value of money for the client. I have tried to break down what I would perceive as some of the contributing factors to this success so that others looking for training may consider such an option. Below are five reasons to train with our in-house format.
1 - Participation and Discussion
In any training, the participation and discussion from individual attendees is one of the leading factors that makes or breaks the success of a session. With an in-house course, you benefit from increased sharing because there is no concern over company restricted intellectual property. As a PetroSkills instructor, I’m signed to non-disclosure agreements which means, “what’s said in the room stays in the room”. More recently, I’ve been engaging participants to prepare related pre-work (5 min work share presentations) ahead of the session. This means as I’m delivering a training moment on mechanical seals, we can immediately segway to Billy Bob’s presentation and the recent seal failure problem, the room shares in his frustrations and recognizes the individual as a potential contact if this were to happen to them.
2 - Delivering What is Needed
Each of the modules in a PetroSkills course begins with defining the competencies to be covered in the upcoming 45 minutes of discussion. In an in-house course, the competencies become more focused. With in-house Subject Matter Expertise (SME) involvement the competencies can often be trimmed and adjusted relatively quickly to cover the key materials. Ie, if you’re a liquid pipeline company, then discussing ASME B31.8 (Gas Transmission) is unnecessary. This creates time in a training session –which leads to the next point…
Most participants will tell me on Day 1, two things; a) that training is like drinking from a fire hose, b) when will I have time to get my “real” work done?. I hear you. We (instructors) have a really bad habit of trying to try to cram as much technical content as possible into a 5-day course and at the end of 5 days most can’t recall what happened on Monday. But by the point above (reducing unnecessary content), we are able to consider either shortening the number of training days or shortening the delivery each day. One course I deliver is a 5-day customized version of PL-42 (Onshore Pipelines), although we deliver the course over 5 days, the days start at 9 and finish at 3 (sharp!), and participants will often run from the training to conference calls or emails.
4 - Customization and Savings
Many of the in-house courses I deliver are customized, and while that often results in some man-hours to adjust materials, it really needs to be weighed against the savings benefit of an in-house session cost (please ask our proposals team to send you a quote). If you are considering an in-house course we recommend our technical people speak with your technical people and then we work out what is helpful or a hindrance. Let’s identify the needs and gaps. Is the customization a cut and paste process or am I developing a new section on nuclear fission? Every operator training session I deliver is customized, we identify the key processes at the facility and combine a series of modules into the course materials and include a copy of the plant drawings, operating specifications and any other information the client would like us to include for each participant. This process is quite speedy and doesn’t usually result in any kind of customization cost. The trick is making customizations cost effective and that’s something that we can all help to make happen. Just an FYI, but writing powerpoints has got to be the least favorite part of this job.
5 - Ideal Size and Flexibility
Scheduling and communication is an important part of ensuring the class is properly loaded. Each course will have a target population, but also consider technical professionals looking for CEU (continuing education unit) credits, or individuals looking to train laterally within the organization. I recently had a session of 18 with 5 seasoned engineers needing CEUs. In addition, at least two of those individuals were not working with the materials in the course but were looking for credits and refresher of the fundamentals. As it happened, the seasoned engineers shared real project experiences, and the remaining two brought about a company perspective that would not have been felt otherwise and challenges we may not perceive for lateral job roles within the same organization. In-house sessions give companies control over the class size which allows them to create a more flexible training environment.