The Association of Industrial Truck Trainers has reaffirmed the importance of external providers for forklift operator training and warned companies of common risks when using potentially non-accredited internal instructors.
“Companies can choose to have internal trainers for the purpose of teaching operators, and it can be a perfectly viable option if properly monitored, but we often find that internal training has not been accredited by an awarding body,” said Adam Smith, Managing Director of AITT.
“Internal trainers are at risk of giving in to pressure from their employers to meet company targets for efficiency and productivity, and if they are not supervised, it can lead to cutting corners and actually hinder the quality of training they provide.”
Operator courses are commonly split into basic training on equipment and practices (stage 1) followed by training on the organisation’s specific site and vehicles (stage 2).
If these stages are combined or condensed, internal instructors may run the risk of missing valuable information. Dedicated training companies employ personnel with extensive industry experience and broad product knowledge of many vehicle types and applications, enabling them to provide a greater level of detail.
“If operators are exclusively trained solely on the equipment used in their immediate environment, the question arises of what happens if they are transferred to other sections or sites?” said Adam. “Its vital that any training operators receive is widely applicable, which is why basic training is the foundation to the qualification.”
Availability is also key when training operators. Internal instructors are on site all the time which can be beneficial, but they may have additional roles and workloads. This means they may not always be on hand, or may have a backlog of training requirements at peak times, such as the run-up to Christmas.
“External training companies work on demand, so they are available to offer services as and when you need them,” said Adam.
According to AITT, outsourcing training to external providers is also a cost-efficient option, particularly for budget-conscious companies. “External training companies can adapt training depending on what you need,” said Adam. “This also means that you don’t have to be paying for an internal instructor all year, as there will be times that no training is really required.”
For peace of mind, AITT can assess and audit the training being provided by internal instructors to confirm whether they are meeting the correct standards based on industry-approved guidance.
Adam concluded: “Whether a company uses external instructors or internal ones, the most important thing is to ensure that they are accredited by an ABA training provider in order to make certain they achieve the necessary standards of quality and consistency and also have access to regular updates on changes to legislation and codes of practice.”