Operator Academy Open for Business

SUNDAY, MAY 03 RD, 2015 


In the latest development to support UK plant operators, Finning has launched its Operator Academy. To find out more, Finning News caught up with the latest operator training recruit to join the team, Karl Marlow, who shared his thoughts on operators, his role and the aims of the new operator academy:

“It’s simple really, the operator is the true brains of a machine. They tell it what to do, where to go and are ultimately responsible for getting the best out of the equipment, whilst keeping it as healthy as possible.

“When I look at the amount of money invested in this industry, from the research and development of new machines and technologies, right the way through to production, service and maintenance, it is staggering. “But for me, what is more staggering is the polar opposite of investment in the brains of the machine, the operator. I have been fortunate in my career, working with Caterpillar at its EAME facility in Malaga and in other training roles to have seen a lot invested in my skills as an operator, but I know I am in a minority. Throughout my career to date, I have also had first hand experience of what good and bad training programmes achieve.

“I certainly think there is a gap in the market for competency focused operator training in the UK and I know from previous programmes like Eco-Drive, run by Finning, that significant results can be achieved.

“This is why I think it is important to recognise that a ‘one size fits all’ approach to training, simply doesn’t work. So with the Operator Academy, we are looking at training small groups of operators, preferably on the site where they work, with the equipment they use. Importantly, this doesn’t have to be Caterpillar equipment, so those with mixed fleets can also benefit. For those unable to support a site programme, training can take place at other facilities, like the Caterpillar Desford Visitor Centre. However, I would always recommend the onsite training approach, as each operator will be able to directly relate the training to everyday situations, making real changes that will deliver measurable results.

Commenting on the training certification, Jackie O’Brian, Head of Learning and Development for Finning said: “Typically our training will take place over two days, using Caterpillar certified level 1-3 guidelines, depending on the original competency of the group. This group will then be assessed a few weeks later and depending on performance, awarded this accredited certification, which will be reassessed and re-accredited in three years time.

“We have also developed a similar programme with the MPQC certified quarry and mining training, where we will be able to deliver red, blue and gold levels. All of our training at every level will focus on competency. Fundamentally, no matter what the

age or skill level of the operator, we think they deserve to be given a higher level of professional recognition that this industry certified programme will deliver.”