Highly skilled, mechanically adept individuals are in high demand and are hard to come by. In fact, the shortage in qualified manufacturing workers is estimated to reach two million by 2025, posing a significant challenge for organizations in the manufacturing sector. To find a solution, many are proposing more aggressive outreach programs to high schools and technical colleges - but is that the best answer?
According to Drew Greenblatt, “part of the problem is that [key manufacturing jobs] all require extensive training and experience that you don’t often find in applicants that are coming out of high school.” Perhaps instead of placing more emphasis on recruitment efforts for skilled trade workers, manufacturing companies should invest in building a competent manufacturing workforce by developing and refining existing talent.
An online training program can provide targeted skill development, just-in-time performance support, and a consistent way to deliver, track and measure skill mastery. For organizations in the manufacturing industry, an eLearning program can help manufacturers develop talent from within—minimizing the gap between actual skills and desired performance.
Leverage Expertise of Veterans
Although the most skilled workers may not have the time to take on a classroom-sized apprenticeship, it is highly probable that they can spare an hour or two to share their best practices or show workers how to perform a procedure correctly for a brief, how-to video. Short videos are relatively inexpensive and can be created on virtually any smart device these days, and once they are uploaded to a course authoring tool administrators can easily add assessments and additional information to create a course that can be shared with the masses. Workers can develop psycho-motor skills by repeatedly watching training videos, as needed, until they perfect the process shown by the expert in the video.
Keep Workers Up-to-Date
Manufacturing machinery is rapidly changing as production continues to become more automated. To keep up with the pace and stay relevant, manufacturers can leverage an online training platform to distribute information on the latest and greatest technology as it releases to their entire workforce.
Courses informing workers about the most up-to-date technology or industry know-how can easily be deployed through a Learning Management System (LMS) so that workers have a single point of access for information pertaining to their current and future job development. Knowledge is power, and keeping workers informed and educated on how to use the latest manufacturing technology will help ignite the thirst for improvement and build the necessary know-how that many workers are currently lacking.
Ensure the Necessary Skills Transfer
According to Manufacturing Global, the two biggest challenges facing the global manufacturing sector for 2015 are regulation & traceability and product development & innovation, both of which require a certain level of skill mastery. To ensure that manufacturing workers meet compliance and are actively thinking about how current processes and products can be improved, there must be a consistent way for manufacturers to distribute information and test knowledge retention of important topics and procedures. An LMS can help with this.
Using an LMS manufacturing companies can track and measure course completions, quiz/assessment scores and administer certificates once workers have met compliance standards. System administrators can leverage reporting functionalities to determine which courses workers are having the hardest time with and provide additional training materials or instructor-led sessions to ensure that workers are well-equipped for the job.
At Knowledge Anywhere, we have a track record of building long-term partnerships with manufacturing firms like Ford, Emerson, URS, and AAR to create online training programs that build a more qualified and competent manufacturing workforce.