Refresher / Update Training: Is It A Waste Of Time?
Let’s face it, it is a pretty commonly held view that refresher / update training is just a waste of time! Sure, the HSE do state that refresher training should be completed every 5 years for professional chainsaw users / climbers but very few people actually do it.
As a trainer / assessor, I’ve had plenty of conversations about refresher / update training and I’m well aware that many people do see it as just going over old ground… and I also think that in the past trainers possibly saw it as potentially easy money. I may be sticking my neck out here, but I’m not sure that trainers really helped the situation!
I’m a big believer in refresher / update training that’s done well… and that’s why whenever I have delivered it, I’ve worked closely with the individual or company to find out what their needs really are… then built the training around that.
Sure, I need to see some basics just to make sure that there is nothing too awry (we all pick up bad habits after all) but this sort of tailored provision has been very well received by those attending.
To my mind, refresher / update training is less about the trainer standing in front of someone and presenting; it’s more about working with people and sharing experiences and previous knowledge, filling in little gaps in knowledge. I’ve lost count of the times that something that I assume is very basic can elicit a response of “I never knew that!”.
A recent company that I delivered update training to covered a pretty wide-ranging series of elements; originally starting as a “climbing refresher” it was tailored to suit the way they work and the work they do.
They often work in London on the Plane trees, so we added in a little bit about biosecurity and talked about Massaria infection (how to identify it and how it affects climbing / rigging operations).
Their climbers normally climb using the humble Prusik, but there are a couple of ‘tricks’ to make it more ergonomic to use… but with the more experienced climbers we went on to look at converting their systems to SRT and looked at basal / canopy tie-offs and aerial rescue.
We also looked at rigging and although this is something they do regularly, they didn’t often use speed-lines, so we spent some time looking at different installations, scenarios and how to ensure safety of the climber and ground-crew.
Refresher training doesn’t have to be a re-hash of all the old stuff – find a reputable training provider that will work with you to discuss and explore options. Make sure you get out of it what you, or your company, needs.