Although Dick Zampa, director of the Ironworkers union permanent training center in California, doesn't have "Matchmaker" listed on his business card, that was exactly the job he performed when he introduced JLG Industries, Ahern Rentals of Northern California and Ironworker Training Coordinators from his area to one another.
The training partnerships all started when Zampa met Jeff Ford, JLG Product Champion, during a one-day operator training session Ford conducted at the 22nd annual Ironworkers training meeting in San Diego. Both Zampa and Ford realized that a one-day session wasn't enough to meet all the needs of the workers, but it was the only amount of time available. A better solution was to organize a three-day JLG Train-the-Trainer session at the Union's regional center in Oakland, California.
The first Train-the-Trainer session was headed by Jim Smith, JLG Training Coordinator, who traveled to Oakland to conduct the training, which used a JLG boom lift, scissor lift and telehandler provided by Ahern Rentals. JLG offers its operator training and Train-the-Trainer course at the McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania factory, in Las Vegas and on location when there are sufficient number of student warrant it. In this instance, there were twelve students from all over California that attended the three-day Train-the-Trainer course covering both aerial work platforms and telehandlers.
Smith devoted the first day of the Train-the-Trainer program to teaching instructional training methods, adult learning styles and theory, equipment operational theory, and how to conduct proper machine inspections.
Day two started the students' oral presentations, which is an evaluation of the students' public speaking abilities and also evaluates their use of the effective training workshop material from day one. The third day was devoted to actually conducting the required inspections on each unit and then performing the hands-on evaluations to demonstrate proficiency and safe operating skills for all three pieces of equipment.
The students were assigned a task to perform with the equipment and were further challenged with hypothetical questions to test their knowledge. Additionally Smith introduced mock hazards for them to avoid to fully complete their assignment. Attendees wrapped up the three-day training event by successfully completing the three written examinations covering proper aerial work platform operation, proper telehandler operation and effective training techniques.
Smith's training classes weren't a holiday for the ironworkers. By the time they had finished, they had ten measurements of their learning progress.
The operational skills and coaching portions of the testing were conducted by the students themselves. They took turns acting as coaches and operating the equipment and then evaluated each other's performance.
It's important to know that simply taking an operator training class does not qualify a student to teach operator safety classes. A comprehensive Train-the-Trainer class is required to qualify the individual to conduct operator training applicable to aerial work platforms or telehandler products. Re-certification is required every five years to maintain qualifications.
Smith said that the twelve ironworkers that took his course, "Did great!" He added, "These guys were already professional instructors, so they were highly motivated to master the material. They know that there are OSHA-enforced regulations that require operators of aerial work platforms and telehandlers be trained. They also know the people they are responsible for teaching need to be proficient and safe operators of the equipment - not only for their own well being, but also for the well being of others on the job site. One of our company's chief concerns is the safe operation of our equipment, so I am really looking forward to continuing the training relationship with our distributors and the iron workers."