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The Importance of Training When Operating Machinery in the Engineering Sector

In the engineering sector, continuous training is of the utmost importance. Tools, technologies, and processes are improving at a rapid pace, and so should our skills.

However, some businesses don’t focus on the continued upskilling of their employees, and this could be to their detriment.

Here, we’ll discuss why ongoing training and education is essential in the world of engineering.

Preventing injuries

We’ll start with an important one. If engineers don’t receive on-the-job training, they could be at a higher risk of injury when operating machinery.

Not only do your employees need to understand how to operate your machinery effectively, but they should also know how to maintain it. Engineers should be able to spot potential faults, such as missing safeguards, malfunctioning parts, or blockages easily. But if they’ve only learnt how to use the equipment, they may not be able to identify a malfunctioning machine. This could put them at a higher risk of injury. It could also mean your business fails to prevent a problem with your machinery from getting worse, costing you more money in the long run.

Continuous training on machinery is especially important if your business regularly updates its equipment. Tools from different brands can operate differently, while employees may need to re-learn how to operate an improved new model. Even the smaller tasks, like fitting new hydraulic cylinder parts, may require additional training. All of this contributes to your employees’ ability to operate new machinery effectively and safely.

Adopting improved ways of working

As technology advances, so do our business systems and processes. The processes and tools we once used years ago, like slide rules or hand-drawing, would now be unthinkable. Nowadays, we have technologies that can perform these laborious jobs for us with more accuracy. The fear that technology would kill off the engineering industry never came to fruition. Instead, we have realised that it empowers human engineers to be better workers than they were without technology.

In just a few short years, innovative digital solutions have become embedded in the industry. For example, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and automation are increasingly important. While this might come naturally to engineers who’ve grown up around these technologies, it’s essential to provide continuous training on these innovations. If your business doesn’t adopt these tools, it’ll get left behind by the competition. And if your employees aren’t trained effectively on them, they may also get left behind.

Career progression

Many businesses focus on getting the most out of their employees. However, this doesn’t necessarily include supporting their employees’ progression. Some fear that upskilling their people will result in them leaving for a better job, but that’s rarely the case. In fact, 94 per cent of employees would stay with a company longer if it supported their career development.

Developing your employees not only means that they’ll be more loyal to your company, but it also means they can operate at a more senior level. Engineers who can work with more machinery can do more and work on bigger projects. In turn, these may generate more revenue for your business.

The importance of CPD

Continuing professional development (CPD) is important in all job roles but it’s especially critical to engineers. The Engineering Council requires its members to engage in continuing professional development in order to maintain their competence in the role and keep up with the pace of change in the sector.

As well as progressing your career, the Engineering Council says CPD helps you to build confidence and credibility in your skills. This then feeds into career progression. CPD can come from a range of areas. On-the-job machinery training, volunteering outside of work, or taking formal qualifications are all included under this umbrella. Members of the Engineering Council who don’t commit fully to CPD may lose their professional title, so it’s of paramount importance.

On-the-job training is critical to the performance and progression of engineers. It helps reduce the risk of injuries that could occur due to improper use or maintenance of machinery. It’s also vitally important for engineers and their businesses to keep pace with the rapid changes in the sector. Technology is advancing every day, and so should we.

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