Roadblocks to Effective Training

Nobody has to tell you that training is a valuable tool to help improve your skills and that of an entire group. But so often, a desire to implement training is thwarted by roadblocks. These roadblocks come in different forms. Here are a few, and ways to avoid or work around them:


  • “We don’t have time.”  This is the most common roadblock. There are always hot projects that can’t wait, especially in the world of engineering and design. But if your company considers training valuable, they should help you make time for it. To minimize the time away from your usual job duties, ask the trainer if the schedule can be broken apart. For our GD&T classes, I am willing to teach a few half-days that are spaced apart. Simply ask for this option, or see if the trainer offers a condensed version of the training.

  • “We don’t have anyone on staff that can teach that.”  Well, that’s when you get on the Web and look around for consultants! I specialize in GD&T; other trainers have other specialties. Don’t be afraid to look outside your company for help; if you are unsure about a consultant’s qualifications, ask questions. How long have they been doing this? Do they hold certifications related to the topic? (A GD&T trainer should be ASME certified; preferably at the Senior Level.)

  • “Training is all theory; we need help using it in the real world.” Again, my suggestion would be to ask the trainer about this. While technical training has a theoretical component, the instructor should be able to tie the concepts in with actual designs or real-world situations. I always make sure to learn a little about the company where I will be training. If they make plastic parts, some of my presentation will be different from one at a company that makes machined engine components. Also, ask if the trainer is willing to incorporate your actual prints into the training.

  • “Our employees can go online and get the training on their own.”  This might not seem like a roadblock, but there are two potential problems with this. First, are they really going to sit down and do this? There are advantages to online training for someone that is disciplined enough to go through an entire course online. But in reality, roadblock #1 usually creeps in here, and the training never gets done. A second issue is that online training is usually for individuals. A live training class with an instructor allows the entire group to be present, hear the same message, and bounce ideas off of one another. (I love the classes where we have design engineers, manufacturing engineers, and CMM inspectors all together! They all leave the class with a greater understanding of their different viewpoints and how they must work together.)

  • The worst roadblock I ever encountered was an HR coordinator who told me that they didn’t need GD&T training because “the engineers should have learned that in college.” I don’t have a good answer for that one! I suppose the engineering manager should take the bull by the horns and make arrangements for the class out of his own department budget, circumventing the HR person. At any rate, don’t let roadblocks stop your company from pursuing technical training.

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