I recently conducted a training session which has left me emotionally baffled and professionally perplexed. Upon arrival I was brought to a very modern and well appointed training/board room and proceeded to set up the electronics etc. for the training session ahead. The attendees started to dribble in as is quite normal.

I was then informed that the class was going to be somewhat larger that had been originally expected. After briefly reflection I informed the host manager that it was very likely that it would affect the completion time, particularly as we had individual hands on practical training, each person participating is to prove that the material covered in the theoretical was properly absorbed and the individuals all had the physical abilities required to do the tasks required to complete their daily work. The supervisor informed me that the session could not go past the allotted time and that I should do my best to shorten the session to fit within the time slot. Ok, so I had a challenge and I like a challenge.

So we began with my normal exuberance, wishing to begin with everyone in a positive frame of mind, guess what, I had some extraordinary individuals, my enthusiasm infected them and shortly after I started I had a room that was attending to every word spoken with many relevant questions, to my absolute delight. I could not bring myself to dampening this thirst for knowledge; frankly in sixteen years of training I had never experienced a group like this one and so proceeded with joy in my heart, the class was going exceptionally well. Oh, and by chance it was Remembrance Day so we were interrupted. Everyone in the company was asked to assemble in the plant for a brief but heartfelt ceremony. Which I felt, was very thoughtful. I informed the supervisor, that with the interruptions, I would need an extra hour or so to complete the training. The time ticked on the training continued at a reasonable pace.

Prior to the completion of the session I was interrupted once more, I asked to join the general manager for a moment in his office. Once introduced and seated, I was informed directly and to the point that the course provided had affected productivity reducing output by 70% for that day. The expectation was that everyone would be completely certified and that there was to be no additional loss of productivity. Needless to say that deflated me somewhat. My main interest was to insure that none of the training participants were cheated out of a complete and comprehensive training session.  I did complete the session by coming in early the next day at my own expense and splitting up the group in a way so that production was minimally affected.

I have always understood the purpose of my training was to provide the required essential information to the attendees in a manner that would be best retained by each individual on the one hand and satisfy time and scheduling constraints on the other.

At the end, Participants presented themselves to me, as they often do, and thanked me for an interesting, insightful and uplifting experience. In retrospect, I was emotionally conflicted because I know I did the right thing, both for my students and, in the long run, for the management of the company. I am absolutely committed to quality training, providing the best possible experience for the student and not only a manner to satisfy the provincial authority and their regulations.

I do get feedback advice that competitors claim to provide equivalent instruction in two or three hours and are considerably less expensive. I cannot fathom meaningful crane operator instruction in two to three hours. I have tried in the past to determine a way to reduce the information provided with some kind of concept to minimize time but have not been able to find it.

In my book quality is still number One.

Joe Harnest
Crane Training Canada