Many of us have experienced a similar frustration that seems to be common in the machinist field—we need knowledgeable, skilled employees, yet we can’t seem to find them. It can be easy to feel discouraged right away, which often leads to managers believing their employees are untrainable, or worse, prematurely firing a new employee. This predicament can be avoided though. At Leading Edge Industrial, we believe that employee training should be reimagined. With more consideration and on-the-job training, as well as an increased focus on machinery programs, we can see a higher retention rate in the mechanical field and increased interest in these occupations.
Why is On-the-Job Training Important?
Establish Safe Habits:
For a career in machinery, on-the-job training (OJT) is essential. First, OJT is an excellent way to institute safe habits. By providing proper training to new employees, safe work habits can be established early in the training process. Workers will also feel more inclined to ask questions about system processes and safety regulations if they are given an open training environment.
OJT also provides a way to increase efficiency. When employees are shown the proper methods for completing tasks, they can later complete their work faster and in the correct manner. This will produce consistency among services and ensure that all employees have received the same training.
Lastly, OJT can help an employee master their craft. With hands-on training from an experienced manager or coworker, employees can learn new skills to add to their knowledge base. Employees can also practice, hone, and expand upon their craft in an environment that facilitates communication and training.
What Types of Machinist Training Exist?
One of the many problems surrounding the absence of qualified machinists in the mechanical field is the lack of knowledge about mechanical programs and certifications. Many machinist careers require little formal education, which can be an enticing incentive. So what education is needed to become a machinist?
- First of all, you need a high school diploma or GED.
- Apprenticeships: Many machinists started off as students in an apprenticeship program, learning skills like CNC programming and more manual, hands-on processes like benchwork and fabrication. These programs can be found throughout the US and are normally hosted by vocational schools or manufacturers themselves.
- Certificate programs: Many vocational schools offer machinist programs typically lasting from six months to a year. These programs teach CNC machine skills, the function of different tools, and some specialized processes like tool and die-making.
- Associate degree: This degree is typically completed within two years, and students learn more advanced CNC machine processes, blueprint reading, tool functionality as well as other general education topics.
These are only some of the common paths taken to receive a machinist education, yet hundreds of other programs and certifications exist—tailored to individual needs and interests.
Teach them Young
Though machinist occupations are rewarding, challenging, and innovative, it’s hard to deny that there isn’t a stigma concerning manufacturing careers. With more training and education, we hope to reverse this trend, but what can be done to encourage younger students to try technical pursuits?
- Promote shop/machinist classes: With hands-on instruction and the ability to create actual projects, students will be given a tangible feel of what it’s like to design, program, and manufacture a product.
- Encourage internships: Students should be encouraged to find internships with local manufacturing shops. Classroom credit could be offered to help entice students who are interested in the mechanical field.
- Invite guest speakers: The sharing of firsthand knowledge is always an excellent approach to increasing interest and encouraging questions/curiosity from students with technical skills.
- Encourage parents: Parents should be encouraged to discuss different career paths with their children—including mechanical and technical pursuits. To help facilitate this communication, schools should provide information about the educational and career options that a manufacturing occupation can bring.
A Growing Industry
The manufacturing field is only going to expand in the future, which is why both students and adults should be encouraged to pursue jobs in this industry. With increased OJT, education, and school encouragement, we hope to see a new surge of interest in the mechanical field. For more information on how to increase education/awareness about the benefits of a technical/mechanical field, visit Leading Edge Industrial.