We unfortunately live in a society where, despite standards and accreditation procedures, there are some heavy equipment training schools that just don’t make the grade. Gaining a qualification is not exactly cheap – in fact, if you come across a training program that is cheap – be careful, it may be cheap in more ways than one. So what should you look for in a heavy equipment training school?
I said there are standards and accreditation processes. It is obvious that these should be your first check. Are they accredited and do they meet the minimum standards required. However, you should do your own quality assessment and this can be done quickly using some of these guides:
There are two things to look at when it comes to the machinery itself. Is the heavy equipment reasonably modern and well maintained, or does it look like it’s been around every construction yard in the country? You don’t necessarily want every machine to be modern. You do need some experience on some of the older machines since the workplace is going to be full of machines of various ages and conditions.
The second think to look at when it comes to heavy equipment is the range. Do they have a broad range of machinery types, or are you going to be stuck behind a bobcat with a variety of attachments? Variety is the spice of training – by that I mean a variety of machinery, not attachments.
Is the training area dedicated – or just part of the car park. Is it large and does it contain a variety of materials such as sand, gravel and rock. If you are going to train on a bulldozer, you want real earth to shift – not a pile of sand in the middle of the car park.
As much as we hate being in a classroom, every job has its theoretical components and that requires a specialist classroom – not the company’s lunch room. Equipment such as video players and overhead projectors will give you an indication of their professionalism.
Is there a dedicated administration area? This is important. You want your training records stored for future reference. If there is no dedicated admin area, or admin staff, what is going to happen to your records once the heavy equipment training program has been completed? Will they be thrown in a pile in the corner, filed in the shredder, or carefully stored for future access?
These are minimum standards that you can check, often by just eyeballing the training center from the carpark. If you are satisfied with what you see, and the organization is accredited to deliver and assess heavy equipment training, you can consider enrolling and chances are, you will come out the other side a professional heavy equipment operator ready to hit the workforce. Oh yes – do they have a professional job placement service as well?