In all industries, including maintenance and reliability, there is recognition of a skills gap in young workers and great concern in how to deal with it. Many of the discussions I have had with other leaders, managers, and supervisors have the tone of expecting someone to DO something about it. That someone is US!
We, as reliability leaders have to find and develop the talent that we need. The shortage of training and apprenticeship programs is not going to resolve itself without our active input, effort, and leadership. There are a great many things we can think about and do in 2016 (to steal a T.O. phrase) to move ourselves forward on this topic.
First and foremost, get your team together and define and document the specific skills required for each position in your organization. Be detailed and get down to such seemingly innocuous things as language skills and soft skills like team participation and work relationships. Use these to create some spreadsheets and rate all of your people in each of these skills based on a level you desire them to be at versus where they are in reality. This gives you a gap analysis.
Use that gap analysis to identify your organizational areas of weakness. Document those weaknesses and then build a training plan to address them. Develop what training you can from within your own team and outsource what you must. Be sure to seek out the best training for areas in which certifications are needed or recommended such as Lubrication Technology, Vibration Analysis, or Infrared Inspection. Now you have an action plan to improve your own workforce to the standards you have identified. This is the beginnings of a training plan to bring new hires up to speed in your organization.
To complete the new hire training plan, use your skills documents, put in the training you have developed and identified for the weak areas, and then identify and add in training for the skills not already covered. Now you have the beginning of your own new hire training program designed to bring a new hire maintenance and reliability technician up to speed on your team. Go implement it and solve one of our most serious identified problems in industry today!