HOW do you view training for your maintenance staff? Is it a waste of time or a fundamental part of maintenance improvement? The reality is that companies investing in training outperform and have much better staff retention rates than companies that don’t. Something that should be of concern to us all is the fact that for many maintenance tradesmen the only formal training they receive is during their apprenticeship in the first four years of their career. If your organisation wants to reach international maintenance best practice then a structured approach is needed to maintenance training. After consultation with key industry partners Skills4Work indentified a need for higher level training in maintenance trade skills and in international maintenance best practices. From this need the Maintenance Excellence programme was developed, which offers a structured and flexible approach to further training for maintenance technicians. Skills4Work has a long and proven involvement in training engineering apprentices and is well known and trusted in the engineering sector. What isn’t so well known though is the Maintenance Excellence programme available through Skills4Work, which takes training for maintenance technicians above and beyond that taught during the trade certificate. This training has been developed for three distinct groups: • For apprentices, key concepts and skills are taught alongside their apprenticeship, building in best practice before bad practice can become embedded. • For tradesmen, the programme starts at a higher level, allowing them to build on the skills they already have to learn how they can incorporate international best practices into those skills. • For managers, a short course teaches the organisational benefits of adopting maintenance best practice because without the support of managers it’s more difficult to embed the necessary skills and culture into an organisation. The Maintenance Excellence programme can ultimately lead to a national certificate or diploma in maintenance and reliability but is structured in such a way that there is immediate benefit for the student and the organisation. Within the applied learning element of the course students complete a workplace project. During the first project, not only are potential savings identified but a fully costed justification for change is put forward to management. In many cases the implementation of the change has been simple and the savings made often run into hundreds of thousands of dollars! If you want to improve efficiencies within your maintenance team a structured approach to training of maintenance staff is vital. Only by continued training can you build in the skills you need to remain competitive on a world market. If you find yourself asking “What happens if I invest in staff training and they leave?” then consider the alternative: “What happens if I don’t train my staff and they stay?” For more details contact Phil Hurford, the programme manager at Skills4Work on 027 488 6446 or email@example.com. Or call Skills4Work on 0800 275 455 for a brochure.