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The skills gap facing our industry is a growing and ever-present concern for companies across the globe. As more experienced team members retire, they take their knowledge with them and leave a void in our facilities. To solve the skills gap, we must help develop the newer workforce into an informed and insightful asset that will support our business goals and objectives.
This strategy must be supported by evaluating the issue from two perspectives – that of the maintenance manager and that of the reliability engineer. Only in this way can we achieve a holistic view of our facilities’ inner workings and develop a world-class workforce at all levels.
As a result of the skills gap, the responsibility of rebuilding our skilled trade talent pipeline must be a collective industry effort to attract and retain new employees, who are facing one of the toughest engineering job markets in modern history.
Much of this will take place within our own companies and facilities and will require an investment, but this investment will produce extraordinary results that will create a thriving environment that will attract quality candidates and develop them into valuable pillars of our operations.
For starters, we must foster the type of culture where these new engineers can thrive and flourish. This starts with improving staff communication and visibility. This empowers them to take an active role within the facility and advocate for their own professional development. As part of our duties to support them, we must also learn to build effective training plans for employee development.
Learning to develop a maintenance training plan not only ensures their continued development as a valuable and critical component of our facilities, but also ensures that we are being held accountable by providing an environment conducive to developing world-class team members.
Next, we need to have the right soft skills to attract them while also driving the right asset investments. It is difficult to attract quality candidates if we do not have a system in place to create the best possible opportunity for them to succeed. Let’s face it, no one wants to work in a reactive maintenance environment with outdated systems of conducting business. People want to work with companies that are at the forefront of best practices.
Finally, we need to understand how technologies can help streamline this process and help hold us accountable, for example, we need to understand how technologies like CMMS can help hire and retain employees.
By understanding the role that we play in not only attracting and retaining quality employees, but helping to develop their skills and expertise, we can establish a resilient workforce built to successfully help us overcome the rising skills gap.