Scheduling a Class When the Economy Isn’t Cooperating

OK — everyone else is writing about the present economy, so I guess we should look at how it affects the training industry. I’d like to resurrect an old blog entry (about a year ago) but tweak it a little to give you all some ideas on how to sell your managers on getting people trained, even when the budgets are tight. When approaching your managers for approval on hosting a GD&T class, one form of resistance that you may get is:

  • “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.

Of course, the latest version of this is “We don’t have the money.”  First, emphasize that in these tight times, only the cutting-edge engineering groups will survive. And knowledge of GD&T is essential to a company’s survival.  Second, ask us (or any trainer that you contract with) about how flexible the pricing is. (Perhaps your company already owns a copy of the Y14.5 standard so we wouldn’t need to provide one; that’s $150 in savings.)

Another common response from management that was detailed in our previous blog entry:

  • “Employees can go online and get the training on their own.”  There is some truth to this, but there are two potential problems. 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, the training often 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.)

And the last “roadblock” has nothing to do with the present economy, but with a closed-minded manager:

  • Once I encountered an HR coordinator who told me that they didn’t need GD&T training because “the engineers should have learned that in college.” In that case 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.

In summary, the need for training will always be there. But don’t be afraid to ask the instructor about creative solutions such as staggered classes or a condensed course to help optimize everyone’s resources!

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