"Learn and Earn" with On-The-Job Training
On-the-Job Training can be the best way to learn tasks or skills. For some people. Watching people cook, restore a Ferrari, or play Poker does not mean you can imitate them only by watching.
Key on-the-job Insights
Yes, you can have online modules and VR/AR practice environments, but the only way to acquire a new skill or competency is to do it. Like your Brain, your muscles have memory. Ask Roger Federer.
In the Aviation Industry OJT (on-the-job-training) is vital due to the complex environments we work in. We learn how to use tools and machinery or risk damage, loss, or worse. This is especially true in aircraft maintenance, or at airports, where we work on aircraft systems or near passengers.
“Follow Harry around” is not on the job training. If you hear that or don’t see a structured approach, you need to ask why.
Importance of On-the-Job Training
If you are a company, a robust workforce development program needs to involve OJT. There are incredibly talented people available who, due to their backgrounds, prefer (or need) to follow a pathway of practical instruction. If you ignore them, you’re losing out.
There are many types of people in this world. Some learn by reading and contemplation. Some by getting their hands dirty. OJT is the fastest and best way (for the trainee) to get those reps in, to get to the required skill levels.
Workers & Mentors
A structured program is vital, so the trainee understands the skills and the pathways expected of them and they won’t suffer overwhelm or confusion. Pilots have used this competency-based approach for decades, showing instructors they can physically do what the textbooks say they should.
But the skills and tasks are set out in manuals and procedures delivered long before they get into a cockpit.
Online and distance courses are great. But they do not deliver experience. The human brain works differently when confronted with tasks requiring skills rather than information. Especially when time is a factor, or it’s cold. Or hot. Or noisy.
How on-the-Job Training is delivered
We have structured and unstructured. You can guess the good one. But you will be confronted by both, and we want to help you deal with both. Because there are lessons in both if your approach is correct. You could be super-smart and help others in your team. Or you could take some of these approaches and use them to push forward on your own leadership journey.
Here are typical ways OJT is delivered.
These are formal and informal lessons delivered to you and your colleagues. They can happen onsite or offsite. Normally one-offs and can have staff or external instructors.
This happens with equipment or software that is specific to your business. This can be skilled workers, Team leaders or even the manufacturers of the equipment itself.
A Team leader or Manager shadows you on the job, giving you tips or guiding you when you make mistakes. It differs to Mentoring where shadowing just seeks “can/cannot” answers where mentoring seeks to ensure individual lessons form a comprehensive approach to their development.
Rare in aviation but common in retail and manufacturing. Employees rotate in roles for experience and sanity. Over time this “Yokoten” approach reveals those who might become reach manager or instructor positions.
On the Job Training Model
It all starts with the program. A document of tasks that need to be accomplished and someone to show you how to do it as well as give you a way to practice.
A good program should customize training to employees needs while creating opportunities for inexperienced staff. OJT must also have clear employer incentives to consider low-skilled candidates.
On-the-Job Vs Off-the-Job
- Hands-on Skills delivered by experienced and skilled colleagues, who in turn are getting management experience.
- Cheaper to deliver by Employer.
- Flexible and delivered “as and when” during working hours.
- Bespoke to the employee and their needs.
- Builds relationships and better performance by employees.
- The mentors’ ability and their available Time.
- Workplace distractions can impact training or restrict training opportunities.
- Friction is caused by skilled employees who might not want to do training or get frustrated due to extra work or when their efforts are not recognized. Or they don’t get paid. Also, some skilled employees might not be good trainers.
Off the Job projects
There are a variety of methods to deliver Off-the-job training projects. Here are examples.
- A Training Room (which we still define as “off the job”).
- Formal and theoretical content only.
- CBT (Computer Based Training) for skills or qualifications.
- Refresher training dictated by industry or Regulators.
- Off-site training, everything from a first aid course to a college degree.
- 3rd Party Trainers. Professional bodies or suppliers who supply the machines or software to the customer.
- Blended Courses (also called Sandwich courses) where training plans have both theoretical and on-the-job training program practical options.
- Focused. There are No distractions.
- Set time and Duration.
- Expert, Skilled Trainer.
- New Skills being learned.
- Less worker pressure and designed for learning. Trainee collaboration encouraged.
- Training is not bespoke to the customer business.
- Employees are away from the workplace.
- These training projects are typically more costly to the company combined expenses.