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How I Set Up a Training Scheme for My Staff: Case Study

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 27 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Business; Training; Training Plan;

Tony Burke bought a small engineering business with the intention of producing valves for chemical dosing systems in the water industry. Although the existing staff were experienced engineers, none of them had Tony’s expertise in the dosing system field. He resolved to address this issue with a comprehensive training scheme.

Consultancy

“The first thing I did was contact a local training consultant. She wasn’t proficient in engineering – I could provide the expertise, anyway – but I needed advice about the training process. I knew that if I simply sat down with my ten members of staff and talked through what we had to do, it wouldn’t work.

“The consultant drew up a training plan that included milestones and deadlines, and took account of staff absences (we were approaching the summer holiday period). She then suggested I hold a meeting with the staff and explain what the plan was all about. To make this process as smooth as possible, the consultant also proposed that she act as the meeting’s facilitator.

Training Needs Analysis

“The staff responded well to the training plan, so I immediately put into effect a training needs analysis. The purpose of this was to establish the exact level of skill and knowledge each member of staff currently possessed compared to the expertise required by my plans for the business.

“The consultant and I reviewed the results of the training needs analysis together. These results showed that there were general areas of training we needed to arrange plus some specific areas for certain staff. This specific training included management skills for my two project managers/supervisors.

Implementation and Evaluation

“The next stage was to start the training without delay. The consultant agreed to handle the management training for the two project managers/supervisors, while I made a start on the technical training. For the management training, I booked a small conference room at a local hotel. I conducted the technical training at my business premises, however, because I wanted to make direct reference to some of the new equipment I’d installed.

“I also arranged a half-day visit for everyone to another valve manufacturing company. A friend of mine ran this business, and he was more than happy to explain his processes (he wasn’t in direct competition with me).

“The training was fairly intensive, and at the end of it, the consultant and I had another meeting with the staff to listen to their comments and ensure we hadn’t missed anything. Again, this meeting went well, largely thanks to everyone’s positive attitude.

“This wasn’t the end of the matter, however. When we began production of the valves soon afterwards, the consultant drew up a further training plan for any new staff I might need to take on. The plan also discussed continuous evaluation of existing staff. Furthermore, the consultant set in motion the ISO9001 and IIP (Investors in People) accreditation processes (which I’m currently involved with).

Hindsight

“In hindsight, I took on too much of the training myself. At the time, I really had enough on my plate, so I should have trained the supervisors first in both the management and technical aspects of the work. Nonetheless, thanks to the training plan and the consultant, everything went well, even if it was a little hectic.”

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