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VOLUNTEER TRAINING

Discussion in 'Railway Operations M.I.C' started by lynbarn, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. GWR Man.

    GWR Man. Well-Known Member

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    My eldest Niece did a course on these machines where she works so when she saw the trained workers not operating them correctly, she could tell them off and they will be unable to reply that she didn't know to work them. So yes there are some who are untrained, but others who want to take short cuts as well.
     
  2. Snifter

    Snifter Active Member

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    Exactly that ! Saturday in the smokebox, Monday in the boardroom.

    We have a couple of chaps who between them work for a prestige car manufacturer and a major aerospace company. It's scrapers and brasso at the weekend for them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2015
  3. Azrall

    Azrall New Member

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    This is something that I've been looking to bring to the S&CR since becoming the Deputy Ops manager, we struggle with volunteers and barely have enough to crew the Service trains on a week to week basis. Perhaps our training could be worked on, but the problem being, with so many of us doing all the turns, be it fireman, driver, guard etc we don't have a huge amount of time to do inductions/MIC that regularly.

    Is anyone able to give any tips/advice on how they look at training for new volunteers?

    Cheers.
     
  4. nick813

    nick813 Active Member Loco Owner

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    Hello,
    'Best Practice.'
    Find and offer.
    The best training you can find and afford!

    Nick
     
  5. nick813

    nick813 Active Member Loco Owner

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    Yes, people get trained and then put it to one side.
    When it all goes horribly wrong then that person is responsible.
    We seem to forget that in H&S law you are guilty until proved innocent.
    I find it difficult to understand that being trained to do something is best practice....best practice is best practice.

    Nick
     
  6. threelinkdave

    threelinkdave Well-Known Member Friend

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    Nick,
    The answer is inspectors - admittedly more hands to find. The SVR has traffic inspectors who will turn up unanounced and ride with the guard for a couple of stations and observe compliance with R & R, signal observation etc. It keeps you on your toes.
     
  7. sbt

    sbt New Member

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    With respect to Plant, I am a lapsed Waterway Restoration volunteer. The Inland Waterway Association run an insurance scheme for restoration societies and the training is integrated with this - the insurers provide affordable cover on the understanding that the scheme is followed.

    It isn't onerous - people are trained by experienced operators who follow sets of notes. Training time takes from an hour or so to a weekend, you then get the qualification put on your 'card', which you have to have at all times when operating plant. There are restrictions on what you can learn, for some plant you have to be qualified and have a certain amount of experience on certain other types of plant - for example, on small excavators before moving to large. Instructors are 'signed off' at board level and chosen from experienced and proven responsible operators.

    On top of this some volunteers, generally those already instructors, are sponsored through the official construction industry courses, which ensures that the general standard doesn't drift away from 'best practise'. There are also a reasonably large proportion of construction industry staff, from senior Civil Engineers downwards, involved in restoration which also helps ensure things don't slide. However some practise differs from usual construction site practise due to specific risk assessments that relate to the type of work undertaken and the sites involved. For example there is an emphasis on being to escape from a vehicle when working next to water, which we often do.
     
  8. Jack Enright

    Jack Enright New Member

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    The East Lancs does.
     
  9. Jack Enright

    Jack Enright New Member

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    Speaking from my own experience, I'd say one of the most encouraging things you can do is to work out the various skills needed by volunteers in each department, and what technical knowledge they will require in order to the job, not just when things are going right, but even more so when things go wrong.

    You can then turn that into a training log, so that each new volunteer can see the progress they are making as each lesson is given, tested, and signed off. This will also help your experienced staff to use what time they have most constructively, as they only have to glance at the trainee's log to see what has already been covered, and what is still to do. For example, there's no point in a trainee guard being shown three times, by three different people, how to couple and uncouple a buck-eye, if he's already learnt that, been tested on it, and signed off - when what he hasn't covered is how to do a brake test.

    I grant you, there's a fair bit of work involved in creating a training log for each grade in the first place, but it pays off handsomely afterwards.

    Another benefit is, of course, that this then becomes part of your Safety Management System. If the ORR or RAIB want to know how do you train your staff, how do you know they've covered all they need to learn, who assessed them, and when, you've got all the records there.

    Thinking back, too, to some of the lines I've worked on, I totally agree with others who say that the worst approach you can take is to "give somebody an oily rag and let them get on with it". They don't feel they're learning anything, they have no idea even what they need to learn, and they end up feeling like an unappreciated skivvy. Then, one day, they decide not to bother coming again.

    Final thoughts on a point mentioned by several posters; people skills. Some senior person might have all the technical knowledge and practical skills at his fingertips, but if he treats people like dirt, is abusive, sarcastic, or continually belittles people, your best bet is to get rid of him. I've known several cases, on several different lines, where one person like that has lost that railway loads of volunteers - and in one case, one senior bod lost his railway thirteen drivers and firemen in one morning, just because he thought he was God. Or, possibly, that he was shed-master at Nine Elms, and that the date was 1933.

    One place I worked in had a poster in the staff dining room which said, "If we don't take care of our customers - you can be sure that our competitors will . . . "

    Change that to "If we don't take care of our volunteers, some other railway will welcome them with open arms . . . " and you've got the right idea.

    HTH

    Jack
     

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