We just held two special training days at our revamped Hatfield site and I’m disappointed to say that I couldn’t be there.
They were special because they are the first time in over two years that we’ve had customers visit our training facilities in person and physically get their hands on our equipment.
And there is nothing like it – for our customers as engineers, to be able to see, hear and feel exactly what is going on with a piece of kit – or for us as trainers, able to immediately see, hear and feedback to the people right in front of us.
Engaging with the HVAC engineers of the future is more important than ever
Don’t get me wrong because I’m proud and delighted of what we have been able to do with our training over the past two years and we’ve won awards for the work we have done developing interactive online training during the pandemic.
We’ve now completely redesigned our entire training programme since the first lockdown and we now train double the amount that we were before COVID.
We used to train 12 engineers per day in a full day classroom and now, we can train up to 90 at the same time. Previous training was classroom-based at one of 7 different sites. Now 80% of the training is done in the customer’s own time through our dedicated online portal. Not only was previous training very admin-heavy for us as a business, but it also meant a large carbon footprint for customers travelling to the training centres
So, not only has the online training doubled the number of people we can reach, it has significantly reduced the time and effort required from our customers, and reduced costs and carbon emissions for us all.
It has also meant that our customers can chose when they wish to learn, so rather than taking a day off the tools, they can find an hour or two, here and there over a two week period, to complete the online training.
This is then checked and reinforced by a live and interactive 2-hour webinar, where me and my fellow trainers are on hand to take them through each piece of equipment, test their knowledge and answer any questions.
Perhaps more importantly for us as trainers, the new way of delivering training has freed up our time to look at training in a more rounded way.
This has not only allowed us to increase the range of available training, we’ve been able to take a step back and look at the best ways of increasing knowledge and skills.
So, in addition to the previous air conditioning and heat pump training, we are now able to offer ventilation courses and training on commercial heating as well.
And we’ve been able to redesign our training facility so that it is much more focused on practical on-the-equipment learning.
These two first face-to-face events were pilots using our reconfigured showrooms at Hatfield and we will now be opening up more dates for customers to visit.
I have to take my hat off to my colleagues Dan Hodson and Liam Brookes who have had fantastic feedback from those attending these first two courses.
Training is vital
And engaging with the HVAC engineers of the future is more important than ever. Not only because we need to find sustainable ways to heat, cool and ventilate buildings of all sorts and sizes, but also because the country is quickly transitioning from gas heating to heat pumps.
To do so effectively, we need to ensure that heating engineers have access to the best heat pump training as anyone with any understanding of the technologies knows that they heat in a very different way to systems that ‘burn things’ to heat our homes.
So, me and my colleagues will continue to develop courses that help increase knowledge and understanding and I’m really looking forward to meeting you on one of our future face-to-face training days.
Ben Bartle-Ross is a technical trainer at Mitsubishi Electric