There is a saying that goes, once a new technology rolls over you, if youre not part of the steamroller, youre part of the road. As a businessman and an educator I have always thought this perspective to be true particularly when talking about advancement of the methods in which we train our workforce.
The evolution of technology for workplace training has always inspired me, especially when looking at advancements in simulation capabilities.
In less than a century we took training technologies like flight simulators and transformed them from a simple wooden-barrel-and-wheels design to highly sophisticated computer systems that allow for complete re-creation of a pilots experience. The development of training technology is apparent in a variety of industries, like construction, health care and information technology. Today, you will even find virtual simulation training for teachers, business managers and sales people.
The benefits of simulated training are vast for companies in all industries. From a safety perspective alone, simulators make perfect sense. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, in 2010 there were 3,883,600 nonfatal workplace injuries and 4,609 fatal work-related incidents in the U.S. The most-affected industries were health care, manufacturing and construction. And although workplace accidents are never completely avoidable, companies that use simulation training remove a highly dangerous phase of new skill development on the job with a safer, virtual learning environment.
Most people do not realize that simulators provide even more benefits than just increased safety practices. Simulation technology also affects production, personnel and your bottom line. Through the use of simulation training, businesses can prescreen new hires and evaluate and help develop new skills as employees change positions within the company. Simulation technology does all of this without tying up equipment that is needed for day-to-day operations and without adding unnecessary wear and tear to machines. As simulators get more sophisticated, the confidence in their value will explode.
Additionally, simulation training can have a big impact on a companys finances. While there is an obvious investment to access simulator training technology, using these tools can save you money in both operation costs of equipment and the cost of rising insurance premiums that come with every workplace incident.
To put that into real perspective, consider that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that an eye injury at work will cost a company an average of $1,463. The cost of one very minor accident could cover the cost of the training.
The revolution of simulation training has not gone unnoticed here in Idaho, as there continues to be a growing demand for access to this technology. At the College of Western Idaho, we find great value in using simulator technology. Local companies are using training devices at CWI such as automotive paint-spray simulators, various heavy-equipment operating simulators, truck-driving simulation, business and technology systems, and advanced medical simulators. And just as technology never stops evolving, we know the need for access to simulation training in new industries will always be there.
Advancement in training technology is a driving force in industry today, and the future of using technology to help train the workforce continues to evolve.
There are state-of-the-art training opportunities available to you right here in the Treasure Valley.
They are worth the investment.
SCOTT FENWICK: Executive director, CWI Business Partnerships/Workforce Development. firstname.lastname@example.org.