Leading mining remote control systems developer and supplier of the past three decades, Remote Control Technologies has begun rolling out a new, advanced training package for remote control operators and maintenance personnel.
RCT's enhanced ControlMaster education and training program is being introduced at sites around Australia, where the company has supplied most of the underground remote and teleremote control systems for LHDs and many and varied surface control systems too.
While the company has been "officially" delivering product training for about 12 years, its history in this field goes back much further. It has been the only remote control systems original equipment manufacturer (OEM) providing comprehensive product, safety and maintenance for as long as operations manager David Loye can remember.
"There is forty years of combined experience weaved into the training material," he said.
"We have developed some 55 training modules ranging from generic product training up to customised training packages for specific customer/project requirements.
"RCT has always had a solid record in delivering quality training on its products. Like all businesses we constantly look at best practices and improvements so our offering can evolve with the times. The core elements of our training programs are now enhanced with a more modern delivery process, a higher level of participant 'hands-on' activities with our products and a refresh of the layout and product/industry terminology in our written documentation. We have also enhanced the package provided to participants with practical items and specialised tooling that they are trained to use and take away with them back to their workplace."
Loye, who has been with RCT for 15 years and has an automotive industry background, is in charge of 40-year-old RCT's customer service division and the company's product training and technical document departments. He also oversees its OH&S and specialised corporate projects.
"I've had extensive experience with the implementation of quality management systems at OEM factory level, batch vehicle engineering, privatisation of government vehicle fleet workshops and national sales management," Loye said of his various senior management roles before joining RCT.
Other key figures in the new ControlMaster education and training program roll-out are RCT's head of training, James Wemm, a veteran electronics technician and service manager, who is responsible for creating and maintaining product training material, employee development training and managing the company's apprentice training program, and lead product trainer Alan Barton.
Barton, who had a 30-year career in automotive mechanics and other technical course tertiary teaching, delivers product training to RCT customers either at the company's Australia-wide service locations, or at customer sites. He is supported by senior field service technicians.
"All our training programs are in some way divided into theory, product practical and site practical sections," Barton said. "Not all of the programs require all three elements and some assessment elements can be conducted by customer site based training personnel."
The enhanced ControlMaster program fosters an increased level of course participant interaction with RCT products and offers easier-to-read and understand training documentation. Barton said there was also more interactive material in the theory component of the training.
"We have been delivering the site-based training to our Australian and international customers for some years now," Wemm said.
"We've seen in the domestic market that customers find it very convenient when we provide training services at our locations around the nation. This allows customers to filter their employees through the training courses during their roster periods, which can be cost effective as there is no interruption to production and cost of providing relief staff on site whilst employees are attending site based training.
"It also allows customers to send smaller numbers of employees to the course as we combine attendees from a pool of registrations to make up an ideal class size. This gives all participants a greater share of the trainer's time and to participate in the hands on activities. We have also found that by combining class attendees this way there is a cross pollination of experiences and knowledge shared amongst the participants."
Loye said RCT had a schedule in place for 2013 calendar year ControlMaster product training delivery.
"The locations we have identified as being most beneficial to our customers are Perth, Kalgoorlie, Brisbane, Mount Isa, Melbourne, Cobar and Devonport," he said.
"We will still be offering site based training for those customers who believe it is the best for their circumstances. Our website has a dedicated section to this where potential participants can gain a better understanding of the training programs, details of the contents and information on when and where and how to register."
Wemm said the training was clearly aimed at machine operators, mechanical and electrical maintenance personnel, radio technicians and site-based customer trainers.
"Typically attendees complete the training initially and generally only seek refresher training if there has been ControlMaster product upgrades and/or their site has purchased newer technology ControlMaster equipment," he said.
"At this point in time we are not promoting bona-fide refresher courses but it is an offer we are considering for the future. Our stance on promoting safe operational practices with remote equipped machines is paramount. Our view is that there is always benefit in revisiting safe working practises in full on a regular basis.
"We see there can only be benefit from that, no downside."
According to Loye, operators and maintenance personnel who attend ControlMaster training are typically sought after in the industry.
"Given our standing in the market it really is a pre-requisite to be able to operate remote equipped machines," he said.
"To our knowledge RCT is the only company offering this type of training in Australia and maybe in some international locations."