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Making training a safe investment

29 May 2024

Investment in training of all kinds is not only beneficial for the bottom line but also a means to enhance safe practice in the Lifting Industry, says Ross Moloney

SKILLS AND labour resource shortages are changing attitudes towards training across all industries. Employers responding to these challenge might previously have been inclined to hire from abroad or attract trained staff from competitors or recruit their own supply chain. 

Today’s shallower recruitment pools, however, are leading employers to the realisation that effective training is fast becoming a necessity to improve productivity and avoid losing business opportunities.

Investing in training

For the Lifting Industry, where working with loads and height in all kinds of environments is common, investing in training to improve safe practice through greater competence and expertise is a crucial incentive, in addition to a likely boost to a company’s bottom line. It’s an industry that needs a constant supply of skills - and the right kind of skills. As it innovates and moves forward, improvements to practices through investment in technology and new techniques demand appropriate training to maximise the return on these advances. Training creates sustained expertise for companies, which allows them to add enormous value to their customers, in addition to assiduously adhering to best practice, while developing a culture of safety. Training needs to be encouraged.

Training is a big part of LEEA. The Association has been providing specialist training and examination services to its members for 60 years, Continual Professional Development (CPD) as well as accredited training worldwide. LEEA Training continues to elevate to new levels with more courses being launched on LEEA’s Academy 2.0 platform, which provides a truly global learning offering - accessible anywhere a student has an Internet connection and a web browser and with courses available in English, Simplified Chinese, Bahasa, Arabic and Brazilian Portuguese.

A range of courses includes the Foundation Certificate, Lifting Accessories Course, Manual Lifting Machines, Powered Lifting Machines, Bridge and Gantry Cranes, Supporting Structures, Mobile Crane Examination and Offshore Container Examination.

Variety in delivery

Having multiple channels of training delivery enhances accessibility for trainees and will encourage involvement. Modern communications technology combined with a huge work-culture shift following the Covid pandemic lockdowns has led to an increase in popularity of e-learning, which offers a low cost and more flexible training channel.

During the lockdowns, companies used the period of relative inactivity as an opportunity to focus on training. Having been offering e-learning already, LEEA needed to respond to the rapid rise in demand for this delivery channel by ramping up provision and investing in digital technologies to enhance online training, making it a genuine alternative to traditional face-to-face learning. Students can study at a pace and time to suit, start a course at any time, online assessments available for all courses and course materials can be downloaded. All that’s needed is Internet access on a PC, laptop or tablet.

Alternatively, there is instructor-led training, which LEEA offers from its purpose-built training centre in Huntingdon, or can deliver to the trainee’s location (or a nearby venue) worldwide. Blended learning combines e-learning and Instructor-led delivery. Students study the course online and then attend a 1 or 2 day instructor led session for a re-cap with questions and answers, prior to sitting their assessment. Combined member training events are a great way to people to access instructor-led training in their region whilst sharing the cost with other members.

CPD is supported with refresher training courses, which TEAM Card holders are required to take every three years. TEAM cards are issued to students who have passed our Advanced Programmes or previous Diplomas. They provide evidence of qualifications and identity.

LEEA also operates an Accredited Training Scheme (ATS), which is geared to delivering value to members while also ensuring that end user training helps raise industry standards.

The ATS is specifically for LEEA Members who are involved in training delivery to end-user companies – for example manufacturers of lifting equipment and training organisations. It offers members the opportunity to gain accreditation for their own training courses, which cover key areas of interest to users of lifting equipment. 

ATS gives the assurance of good quality training, instructors and facilities.  All LEEA ATS Members are audited on their course materials, trainers and facilities to ensure quality and consistency. They adhere to the highest technical and safety standards during the build and delivery of their courses. Their trainers are appropriately qualified and experienced. Their facilities ensure students are comfortable and present a good learning environment.

Apprentice arrivals

To further help to attract recruits and nurture expertise, the industry also now has a relevant apprenticeship in place in England and we are pleased to see that the first Level 3 Lifting Equipment Technician apprentices undertake their End Point Assessment (EPA) at the LEEA workshops in Huntingdon during March and April 2024, and we wish them every success. This represents another big milestone for the sustainability of our industry. The assessment will be conducted by the End Point Assessment organisation, LEIA (Lift and Escalator Industry Association) and will include a multiple-choice exam paper, professional discussion and practical assessment using a range of lifting equipment. 

The apprenticeship has been developed by the industry itself. It embraces not only task-specific skills, but broader knowledge of engineering, business and other fields, and the ‘softer’ employability skills around values, teamwork and communication. Apprentices will come away with specific skills such as how to inspect and repair lifting equipment or assemble slings, but also broader engineering and IT knowledge, an understanding of Health and Safety, of the commercial implications of their activities, and they will acquire abilities in report writing, customer service and much more. The apprenticeship also provides a natural gateway for CPD options, such as advanced LEEA training.

Improving skills sustainability

There has been an enormous amount of work, carried out by a number of organisations, to get the Lifting Equipment Technician apprenticeship up and running, since the formation of the apprenticeship trailblazer group was facilitated by LEEA at LiftEx 2018 in Milton Keynes. It has been vital work that will benefit the sector in terms of its skills sustainability. We hope to see more members take up this opportunity.

Clearly, training at all levels plays an essential role in improving excellence, productivity and safe practice for LEEA members, while helping to ensure the sustainability of the Lifting Industry. It could be your wisest investment.

LEEA training services are only available to members or those registered with the Association as individual trainees. Find out more about joining LEEA at leeaint.com and for more information about any of our training services, email us at mail@leaaint.com.

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Tel: ​+44 (0) 1480 432801