Nationwide Platforms, the UK’s leading provider of powered access hire for working at height, has designed and implemented a brand new IPAF trainee programme that addresses the trainer skills gap.
An industry first, the new programme was designed and created by Operational Training Manager Brian Sneddon, and Senior IPAF Instructor Neil Laws in partnership with the International Powered Access Federation, IPAF. This collaborative effort sees Nationwide Platforms leading the industry in investing in the safety and future of its employees.
Prospective trainers have previously been required to have a minimum of three years of operator experience before advancing to training others and would only need to sit one of the current one or two-day courses to become a trainer. However, this often resulted in trainers retiring with no-one to replace them and a subsequent skills gap.
The IPAF trainee programme accelerates the education of applicants who lack on the job experience by providing an intensive 10-15 week course which covers all aspects of operation, an expected minimum of 150 operating hours on a variety of MEWPs, administration and trainer management. The course takes trainers from all backgrounds and gives them the tools they need to become a fully qualified IPAF instructor.
The course is primarily face-to-face with applicants undergoing on the job training complemented by e-learning to complete modules. The programme is tail ended by an intensive two-week assessment period that vigorously tests applicants’ knowledge and practical skills.
Applicants are taught to critically assess those they train. The course aims to equip those new to the job with the current and correct practices and to recognise the signs of and retrain those who may have fallen into bad working habits. Developing this critical eye is a crucial part of the trainee programme to ensure everyone is working to high safety standards.
Kelly-Ann Macgillivray and Wayne Tatum were the first two applicants to go through the programme. Kelly-Ann started at Nationwide Platforms in 2017, in the customer service centre with a heavy focus on admin. She progressed to being an internal trainer and had the skills to present and impart knowledge to a room full of people but lacked the operational experience to teach others how to work on the machines. Wayne, previously a driver, had all the operational knowledge but was less experienced in delivering training content to a group of people. Both have benefitted from the course, gaining skills and knowledge that boosted their own individual areas of expertise and filled in the gaps.
Kelly-Ann said, “I've really enjoyed it. We've had a roller coaster of moments, and it’s been tough but so rewarding, opening up a whole new avenue for my career path that I hadn’t considered before. It’s been a great journey and going through it with Wayne, Brian and Neil has been the best experience.”
Wayne said, “We've learned so much from Brian and Neil in this whole process. Shadowing an experienced instructor like Neil has been a privilege and having that level of support from everybody involved has been a really important factor in my positive experience of this course.”
Now fully rounded trainers, the pair are looking forward to furthering their careers with Nationwide Platforms.
Brian Sneddon said, “This course is a fantastic way to build your skill set in a safe and supportive environment. Kelly-Ann and Wayne are a testament to the talented people we work with and have led the way on this programme.
“We couldn’t have done this without the support of Neil Laws, who has taken this course from strength to strength. I can’t wait to see others take up the opportunity to become IPAF certified instructors and look forward to continuing to build upon the strong foundation we’ve created.”
Nationwide Platforms will continue to finetune the course, as applications for the next intake are currently open to internal and external applicants to increase the number of IPAF certified trainers.
For more information on Nationwide Platforms and the IPAF training programme visit: https://training.nationwideplatforms.co.uk/en-gb/ipaf-training-courses