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Should you build or buy mine training?

Updated: Mar 12


So you’re thinking of making your mine training more structured, consistent and effective. Should you build the training programs you need from scratch internally or purchase off-the-shelf or customized programs from a vendor? More often than not, it’s more economical and effective to buy mine training programs and have them adapted to meet your needs than to develop them internally. Here are eight reasons why:

1. What is your training department’s mission? This is the most fundamental question you need to ask as a mine training manager. Are you set up to develop training or simply execute it? In most of the mines we have visited, the latter is often the case. Typically, mines promote their best subject matter experts to be training managers. They may know a lot about mine procedures and the equipment used in the mine, but that doesn’t mean they have the writing skills needed to create training programs. Nor do they understand the most effective models and frameworks for training adult workers and organizing knowledge for easy consumption and retention. It’s like the old but highly accurate adage of the company that promotes its best sales person to the position of sales manager. But he fails miserably, because the skill set needed to manage sales is so much different than making sales.

2. Core competencies and opportunity costs What are the core competencies of your training staff? Your direct reports are more likely to provide the greatest value to the mine if they are working on projects that are fairly close to their core competencies. There’s also an issue of opportunity cost: If your training staff is busy designing, writing and producing training programs, what opportunities for safety improvement are being missed as a result? Ask yourself:

"What should my training staff be working on that will deliver the greatest value to the mine?" Chances are, you’ll come up with a list of critical projects that need attention now or in the near future, tasks that your highly-skilled training staff is best equipped to do. Tasks that have little or nothing to do with planning, writing and producing mine training programs.

3. Specialized expertise is needed for production of training programs Creation of modern training programs requires expertise in instructional design, storyboarding, scriptwriting, graphic design, video production and technical authoring. In today’s uncertain global economy, even the largest mines struggle to justify having all of these skills under one roof. Effective training is more than just a written manual or a deck of PowerPoint slides stuffed with bullet points. VISTA Training’s production staff stays up-to-date on the latest thinking in areas like instructional design and adult learning. We make intelligent use of video, illustrations, photos and simulators as tools to provide you with the most effective training programs available anywhere.

4. Why reinvent the wheel? Instead of creating a training program from scratch, why not leverage one that a mining-savvy vendor like VISTA Training has already created? Utilize it as is, or use the instructionally-designed information it contains as a template to create a training program specific to your requirements. In either case, you’ll be able to get up and running faster than if you attempt to design and build it yourself. Why not partner with VISTA on your next mine training project?

5. Lack of available man-hours to "roll your own." Developing a quality training program is a complex, multi-faceted project that most training departments aren’t staffed to handle. Your training department must have appropriately skilled people with man-hours available to plan and design a new training program, gather knowledge and expertise from subject matter experts and produce it. In today’s lean mines, where everyone is already doing the work of multiple people and many training departments are operating short-handed, your team may not have the time or skills to take on such a labor-intensive project.

6. Leverage economies of scale When you purchase an existing mine training program from a vendor like VISTA Training, you’ll get a higher-quality product at a lower investment - because its development cost has been spread over a number of our mine customers.

7. Access to best practices from numerous mines

Our mining customers benefit from productivity- and safety-enhancing best practices we have observed at numerous mines worldwide - which get embedded into our award-winning training programs. You would miss out on this broad perspective if you produced your training programs on your own.

8. Specialized knowledge yields better training If you decide to customize one of our existing mine training programs to meet your needs, our expertise in mine operations, equipment and training methods can make this process flow smoothly. We’re able to ask better-informed questions and can extract more focused, relevant knowledge from your subject matter experts (SMEs). Because of the depth of our mining expertise, we are also adept at separating essential knowledge trainees must know from "nice to know" information. That results in more focused and effective training programs that can enhance both the safety and productivity of your mine operations.

How can we help you? Contact VISTA Training at 800-942-2886 or info@vista-training.com today to discuss your mine’s training needs with us. We look forward to talking with you! Also check out our Mine Training page.

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