In the third instalment of our new series focusing on skills and training, John Savage of the National Fluid Power Centre (NFPC) discusses the importance of ensuring that skills and knowledge obtained through training courses are being applied proficiently by using competence-based assessment to enable best practice across all areas of industry.
As part of the Continued Professional Development (CPD) of our workforce we send people on training courses – adding value to their work-based performance by increasing their skills, knowledge and safe working procedures.
We must, therefore, continually address the changes and advances in technology by ensuring the capability of our workforce. Gaining knowledge is important, gaining skills is important, however, unless some formal assessment process takes place we may never know just how effective a person is in applying his/her knowledge and skills.
Here at the National Fluid Power Centre (UK) we see our direction as to re-skill and upskill our workforce, whilst at the same time helping employers to better understand the performance of their staff through some form of competence-based assessment.
At the NFPC UK we refer to competence as “the ability to carry out a particular task through the application of knowledge and key skills to achieve a satisfactory outcome safely and effectively in a given amount of time with repeatability and to a required standard.”
Consequently, we are shortly to launch the NFPC UK foundation programme in Integrated Systems Engineering (ISE). This programme will bring together a range of highly practical training courses involving Hydraulics, Pneumatics, Electronics and Control. A two-day competence-based assessment programme in which individuals will sit a written examination applicable to the knowledge they have gained, followed by a competence-based assessment on a one-to-one basis, will support each one of the three key elements. This will then measure their skills development and capability against an agreed performance criteria.
The staff at the NFPC UK have some 20 years of experience involved in the development and delivery of competence-based training programmes and we believe that this is now the right direction to go. Hydraulics, Pneumatics and Electronics now form the foundation of power and motion control and we must begin to develop our engineers and technicians involved in the maintenance and management of our machines to better understand the integration of these various systems.
When machines of any kind are designed they will inevitably involve fluid power, electronics and control. When these same machines fail to perform, maintenance staff will need to also understand the integrated system rather than that of individual parts.
The National Fluid Power Centre is taking the UK lead in competence-based assessments associated with the range of specific skills and knowledge required to manage integrated systems. The Centre has possibly the best practical facilities in Europe and is supported by over 60 major National and International companies. Therefore, with such a unique supported Industry relationship, we can continuously ensure that technicians and engineers who attend the Centre gain hands-on experience on a vast array of up-to-date technology aligned very much to their place of work. Add to this the Centre has nine Training Engineers, all from UK industry, with vast practical knowledge and experience adding value to the delivery of our training courses.
How Do I get ‘on-route’ to obtain the NFPC Foundation Certificates in Integrated Systems Engineering?
By following the NFPC recommended progression route of courses and recording your progress in the NFPC individual’s CPD record log you will begin to progress and finally achieve a range of qualifications adding immense value to you personally and to that of your Employer based upon your improved performance in the workplace.
About the RAPRA Training Programme
Drawing on its experience of providing technical support through a unique network of Preferred Service Providers, RAPRA have launched its comprehensive training programme representing the best of rubber, plastics, composites and related industrial training available in the UK, of which The National Fluid Power Centre is one of those providers.
RAPRA will continue to identify where the gaps are and will be on the lookout for high quality, relevant training courses to add to the training programme.
The RAPRA Training Programme can be viewed at www.rapra.org/capabilities/training