Since the onset of COVID-19 and the restrictions placed on delivering training programmes in a classroom setting, Shannon Chamber has transitioned all of its Skillnet training to a virtual setting, successfully delivering 45 training programmes via webinar to member companies since March, bringing to 57 the total number of programmes delivered between January and June 2020.
This is an unprecedented level of the training for the Chamber but one which reinforces its commitment to encouraging companies to embrace training as a means of upskilling employees, even during a lockdown.
Commenting on this phenomenon, Shannon Chamber CEO Helen Downes said: “Companies are engaging and highly motivated to keep training on the agenda. This enthusiasm was very evident during a recent, and our first, training programme graduation which took place via webinar.
“Participants on the Lean Green Belt programme started their lectures in a classroom setting in November 2019 but were forced to complete the course online, linking up with their course tutor, Eddie O’Neill of LBS Partners, for virtual tuition and one-to-one coaching.
“Lean Green Belt is the first step for many employees on their road to becoming proficient in lean principles and understanding how lean works. The nine participants on this programme, six from Teleflex Medical OEM and three from Cook Medical, are all employed in companies that are well on the road to embedding lean in their organisations.
“The learning these employees have taken from the course has enriched them as individuals as well are positioning them to add greater value to their respective roles. It was wonderful to see their energy coming through the screen as they presented their end-of-course projects to their LBS trainers, Chamber executive, and their colleagues and company peers. Each had gained a new level of confidence in presenting and were highly appreciative of the support they had received in reaching the finale.”
LBS Partners’ director Vincent Leonard, describing the value of the projects undertaken by programme participants said: “Lean Green Belt training involves selecting a process from within the trainee’s working environment and, through what is called an A3 project board, examining how it could be done smarter and more efficiently to deliver savings to the company. The savings gained in this instance were many multiples of the investment in the programme.”
This was endorsed by Teleflex Medical OEM’s operations excellence leader, who added: “At Teleflex Medical OEM, one of our key strategic themes is enterprise excellence. We try to continuously improve our processes and to help us achieve this we want everyone in the company involved in problem solving. The green belt programme provides the tools, knowledge and skills to help our team members lead continuous improvement projects across the site. The A3 projects target real issues that impact the business and completed projects achieve cost savings which contribute towards site goals and objectives. But for me, the real benefit is the team work, the cross functional collaboration and the engagement from the team members we are developing by sending them on this programme.”
Cook Medical’s continuous improvement manager Teresa Prendergast added: “Three of our employees participated in this programme and through it the participants have gained a huge amount of knowledge. As we progress on our Continuous Improvement journey the use of the A3 methodology is important to help us improve our processes and meet our strategic objectives. The coaching element of this programme was very beneficial to the employees and enhanced the learning experience greatly. The A3s that were completed demonstrated the power of the tool and how it can be applied to all elements of the business and types of problems. By completing this programme, three real problems were solved for Cook Medical but more importantly, the learnings and standard approach to problem solving will help us solve many more.”
With companies still hesitant to return to offline training and the associated risks of exposing staff to the virus, the online platform will be embraced by Shannon Chamber Skillnet to deliver training for the foreseeable future.
“We have not witnessed any negatives from using technology to deliver knowledge. We recently started an online Lean Yellow Belt programme with LBS Partners, which was fully booked, and we are now inviting companies who may be considering Lean or who want to upskill a greater cohort of employees in lean, to send us their expressions of interest for the next Lean Green Belt programme, which will be delivered in conjunction with LBS partners,” stated Ms Downes.
Further details on Shannon Chamber Skillnet programmes can be found at www.shannonchamber.ie/events-training