Now that we’ve turned the calendars forward to January, it’s time to examine some of the unique challenges and opportunities facing those charged with providing the next generation of professional training services in high consequence environments. There are a number of factors across industries that will force learning professionals to reexamine their approach to corporate training. Changes in technology, economic conditions, regulations and geopolitical issues – among other factors – will all help to define the role continuing workforce development will play within organizations.
At Raytheon Professional Services (RPS) we are hearing from customers on a regular basis that the demands for training are increasing across a broader and more dispersed workforce. And while dependence on training is at an all-time high, funding for training services in most industries remains flat, or reduced, due to continued slow economic growth. While this certainly presents a challenge to the traditional training model, it also creates an opportunity to introduce more technology-driven training services capable of reaching more professionals quickly and efficiently.
Of course, introducing technology solutions for training is not as simple as downloading a piece of software or distributing tablets. It takes careful planning and analysis of the training environment to ensure the proper use and mix of these tools. It’s critical that the introduction of new solutions be consistent with the corporate culture and translate to the field of operations. As with traditional learning curriculums, there is no “one-size fits all” approach to technology.
When we look ahead to 2013 across some of the industries served by RPS such as healthcare, oil and gas and automotive services, we see some interesting challenges that will greatly benefit from the innovative training solutions we deliver. For example, in the oil and gas industry there have been numerous reports of late on the quest for the Unites States to become more energy independent. Early indications are positive that we are moving in the right direction and that U.S. production is on the rise. However, this also brings into focus the challenges involved in training a workforce that is widely dispersed by geographical locations and across business units. My colleague Tracy Cox does an excellent job highlighting this issue in his recent post, Bridging the Production and Skillset Divide. While there are no easy answers, the trend of bringing the training to the workers has certainly taking hold as it is more economically and logistically feasible.
The automotive industry represents another prime example of a market that is always evolving; this necessitates additional training, but it remains impractical to pull a workforce together for in-person sessions. A quick review of CarTrade.com reveals that there are nearly 100 new models of cars scheduled for release in 2013. With the complexity of today’s new vehicles, a subject covered on multiple occasions by my colleague Russ O’Brien, it would be nearly impossible even for the most experienced technician to effectively service them without additional training. Looking even further ahead, there was an excellent article recently in the Huffington Post by Bill Destler, the President of the Rochester Institute of Technology. He writes that despite slow beginnings, the majority of cars will someday contain electric drivetrains. This is yet another reminder of the ever-changing technical landscape that the auto industry will need to incorporate into training programs.
Healthcare may see the most dramatic changes in training demands in 2013. As facilities continue to grapple with the affordable care act and increased levels of accountability for re-admissions, closing the training gap is taking on increased importance. It is estimated that medical errors, some of which can be attributed to insufficient training, cost the U.S. economy an astounding $19.5 billion dollars each year, with an approximate cost of $13,000 per error. Ensuring that healthcare providers can execute on training programs that are consistent across the entire operation is quickly becoming a primary goal of care providers. New developments in training procedures and protocols are ensuring that all employees will have the same access to the critical training they need.
No two years are ever quite the same. 2013 is shaping up to be a year in which the training industry will experience some fundamental shifts in the way training programs are created and applied across high consequence industries. We will continue to push the envelope of what is possible and look forward to bringing you the latest in professional training.