Every year we provide work at height trainings for more than 200 people. It’s not a big business for us but it breaks even and it is an important part of our mission of making work at height safe and efficient.
About 70% are our regular customers and for some technicians, it is the third or fourth time to train with us. For them, we always try to find something new to teach.
With new customers, we assess their needs (what is the complexity of their job and existing skill level) and make an offer. Sometimes we get a question like “can you do this training in 1 day, instead of 3 days?”
Our response usually is Yes and No.
The longer explanation behind this is that our training is mainly about changing people’s behaviors and that means getting them to use new habits. You can’t get new skills through a PowerPoint presentation, we use that just for raising awareness. New habits come through practice and repetition. We can’t teach 3 days’ worth of skills in one day because people can’t learn that fast. When we cut the training down to one day, then the person learns only one third of the things they need to learn. When the training is not complete, these people can’t do the job they are supposed to do. So what is the alternative?
We could rush through 3 days of materials in one day in a classroom setting: watching pictures and videos, reading text and answering questions. By the end of the day we would do an exam and these people would have to DEMONSTRATE new skills in practice. We are confident that all of them would fail. How can we issue a certificate if the person cannot demonstrate skills that are necessary for the safety at their job?
Yes, we can do the shorter training, it is better than nothing! BUT then the person cannot do the job you want them to do. We can say that the person can demonstrate higher awareness BUT (again) if it is not a habit, accidents will occur.
Knowledge is power (read: useful) ONLY when it is used!
People tend to forget the theoretic parts very quickly. In a stressful situation (which work at height usually is) we don’t rise to the level of the task, we fall to the level of preparation. Preparation here means muscle memory.
So actually, NO, we can’t do a shorter training!