Machinery training – Why it’s important
In our last article we spoke about how training is a shared responsibility and becoming a necessity in a fast moving and ever-changing industry. Here, training and development manager Neil Adams at Reesink Turfcare discusses the importance and benefits of training in today's industry and speaks to customers who have recently undertaken some training and the benefits they attribute to that.
Whether just starting out and needing training on all the basics, or someone looking to take their skill set to the next level and push their technical abilities to the limit, training has a part to play every step of the way.
What the customers say
Glen McVittie, groundcare service manager at Lloyd Ltd in Newcastle, completed Reesink Training Level (RTL) 2 and RTL 3 designed as entry level qualifications. Successfully completing these qualifications has now allowed him to enter the Master Technician Programme in hopes of achieving RTL 4 and becoming a Master Technician.
Reesink's Master Service Technician Programme is specifically designed to take experienced technicians' training to the ultimate level, ensuring a technician's skill set is updated and meets the demands of the continuous evolution in the industry. Consisting of several advanced modules, everything from First Aid Safety Training to Advanced Sprayer Service is covered.
For Glen, this training has proved to be incredibly important. Not only is it applicable on a daily basis in his role, but it has also helped him to progress his career.
Glen comments: "I apply what I've learned from training on a daily basis - whether that's when using the computer to run diagnostics or testing hydraulics. The training I have undertaken means I've developed the skills I need to carry out my job to the best of my ability. In this industry, it's important to get it right the first time. If you're working on a machine and you don't know exactly what you're looking for, that guesswork means wasted time and leaves room for error. A small misjudgement could damage the machine, which is a costly mistake to make."
"It's not just on a day-to-day basis that I've benefitted from training. Two years ago I was working as a supervisor at Lloyd Ltd before I moved into my current role as groundcare service manager. My training really helped me to gain that promotion as it provided me with the extra skills I needed to take that next step in my career and take on more responsibilities. It's been incredibly beneficial both to my career progression and, more importantly, to our customers."
With more and more technology being introduced in the professional turfcare market, staying up to date with these advancements is essential to keeping your career progression on track.
David Hunt, mechanic greenkeeper at Sandmartins Golf Club, completed several training courses, including Turfcare Mechanic Course, Basic Electrics and Hydraulics Mechanic Training and Cutting Technology and Aftercut Appearance.
These courses cover troubleshooting machinery, routine servicing, machinery maintenance, diagnostics and more. David also gained nationally recognised PA1, PA2 and PA6 qualifications in the safe use of pesticide applications alongside the Reesink Sprayer Calibrations Technique Course. With these training courses developed specifically for greenkeepers and mechanics, for David they presented the perfect way to get back into the industry and stay up to date with modern advancements.
David comments: "I've been involved in the industry on and off since 1979. I came into my current job after a break from the industry and decided to make use of the training Reesink offered to get myself up to date. Things have moved on and advanced a huge amount since I started as an apprentice in the seventies, and it's something that has vastly benefitted me. I'm more confident and competent in my role and it's definitely improved my productivity."
"You can spend a lot of time as a mechanic doing investigative work to identify problems. But, if you have training, that's not the case. You're able to recognise what needs work or, alternatively, the quickest way to find out what needs work, and that can save you a huge amount of time. Having my knowledge and skills up to date has not only helped me, in that I am now more efficient and productive in my role, but it has in turn vastly benefitted the club for the same reasons."
Why training is important
For many turfcare professionals, the phrase 'time is money' couldn't be truer. When turfcare equipment breaks down or is out of use for maintenance or repair, it's always a top priority to get it back up and running as soon as possible. Whether you're a mechanic or a course manager for a golf club, you have people relying on you and the service you provide. The longer a customer goes without their machinery, the less likely they are to recommend your service or stay a loyal customer.
Similarly, if machines aren't being used properly or efficiently when maintaining your golf course, sports or grounds facility, the quality of finish may take a hit and potentially affect customers. You could also see machines developing faults and requiring maintenance more often, which could prove costly and reduce productivity.
However, with the right training, machinery maintenance can be quick and efficient whilst still providing high quality results, and improved user operation will help machines to perform better and last longer.
It's clear that, to maximise the investment you make in your machinery, you have to also invest in the correct training. The needs of the industry are constantly changing, and the technology used is doing the same in reaction to that. Relying on what you may have learned five or ten years ago doesn't provide the same support that it might have once done and, in today's world with a more competitive industry, there's no room for error.
Training courses are more than just a certificate or an extra qualification for your CV. In fact, most training courses will be specifically designed so that what you learn can be applied to your work on a daily basis.
As an operator, knowing how to correctly operate machinery in different conditions and in different applications means you can be confident and prepared for every day in your job. As such, you will soon see the difference it can make with performance and productivity increasing. It's not just beneficial for the individual either, it can also be hugely helpful for a business.