There’s a problem in the aviation industry – a lack of training.

Actually, it’s not all training, and it’s not just in aviation. The problem is specific to ongoing training – or refresher training – in high-risk fields like Heavy Equipment, Oil & Gas, Aviation, Defense, Energy etc. Fields where mistakes can have serious consequences; where initial training is no joke, but when it’s over, it’s over – at least for most of the workforce, who are then tasked with forever remembering what they learned.

But there’s something wrong with this system.

No One Flies Solo

Operation Enduring FreedomA recent piece by Matt Zuccaro, president and CEO of Helicopter Association International (HAI), speaks to this broken system – pointing out the disconnect between continued training expectations of pilots against the lack of same for Operations and Maintenance (O&M) workers.

Is this really such a big deal? Isn’t the pilot the most important fail-safe in the equation? The final checkpoint?

Yes, but the pilot is only as good as the plane he’s flying – and that plane is made up of numerous parts put together and maintained by numerous people. If any one of them doesn’t know what they’re doing with regard to any given task, the safety of the pilot, the flight crew, the ground crew – all can be in jeopardy.

Zuccaro says pretty plainly: “Maintenance staff are absolutely critical to achieving safe and successful operations, yet their training often does not receive the same attention as that for pilots.”

Why not? With so much riding on what they do, why do so many organizations across so many industries neglect the supporting players?

The Training Gamble

The answer to that question – unwillingness (or inability) to allocate time and/or money to refresher training – sounds cold, but time and money are both real-world concerns for most organizations. Training IS costly.

But it’s not nearly as costly as an accident that causes damage to equipment, or worse, injury to workers.

“If you think good Training is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad training”

Some companies play the odds, hoping it never comes to that, while others are unaware that refresher training is needed critically. In both cases, the lesson – when it comes – will be hard. And expensive. It’s not a gamble worth taking.

Virtual Training Offers Real Solutions

But here’s the good news: This is a problem that is solvable – and at a fraction of the expense of traditional training in both time and money, with a greater return.

3D interactive simulation training offers a solution to these high-risk industries, by enabling “learning by doing” without:

1. Losing productivity/profit by using actual working equipment
2. Incurring repair costs due to equipment wear and tear/breakage caused by trainees
3. Being limited by access to equipment/location – you can train a much larger group at once; simulation modules can be deployed to Web/mobile devices anywhere.

And because it’s scalable and affordable, there’s no need to choose between pilots and O&M workers. Here’s how some visionary organisations are training for maintenance:

A Case for Refresher Training

Let top helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky Aerospace Services prove our – and Zuccaro’s – case.  We worked with them when they needed to upgrade their training methods to support operational readiness internationally.

In place of outdated technical manuals and expensive instructors we gave them 3D interactive visual training that was portable and scalable – and solved the language barrier that would have been costly and challenging to update using previous tools.

But that’s not all:
1. The end customer will save money by creating an in-country O&M workforce rather than shipping repairs to the US or flying out technicians.
2. Their workers will retain more training (even non-English-fluent workers), and become more competent with skills learned, reducing injuries and downtime caused by human error
3. Next-gen portable training technology allows Sikorsky to expand their global product offerings and gain an edge over their competition.

Why would any organization limit that kind of ROI to just SOME of its workforce?

Now you can afford to strengthen that chain more easily than ever. So don’t wait until errors occur. Reach out here to discuss a training solutions roadmap!

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