Creating Training Standards By The Industry For The Industry

GWO standards are created by the industry for the industry to serve a business purpose and pay dividends in terms of greater effectiveness, improved productivity and safety for the workforce. Our members share risk information and expertise to create training standards that improve safety performance problems and build a competent wind workforce. Before GWO creates a potential new standard it considers six factors. These can be summarised as:

  1. Stakeholder need. Is there an unmet need for a standard in the industry and especially among GWO members?
  2. Resources. The capacity and competencies within GWO needs to be available
  3. Empirical evidence. Can the safety performance problem be validated or proved, typically from industry safety incidence reporting?
  4. Risk analysis. Do the characteristics of the risk suggest a standard would be an effective control measure?
  5. Industry coalescence. Is industry practice coming together around common approaches that can be synthesised to a standard?
  6. Existing standards. GWO’s objective is creating a safer working environment for wind technicians not simply creating standards. If a complementary standards exists a GWO standard may bring no additional benefit.

What makes a standard

The decision-making process for standard development is the responsibility of GWO’s Training Committee. It prioritises the Secretariat’s development team workload based on formal and informal stakeholder inputs. External stakeholders input into potential activities and topics for potential standards and existing standard updates in three ways. Training providers are surveyed on a quarterly basis on their views including on areas within the standards portfolio that may need review or amending. Members of GWOs working groups of training providers and other industry experts can input especially through the design and piloting stages. Additionally, in 2021 GWO augmented the ways in stakeholders can inform the Training Committee’s work by instituting a online feedback form.

Stakeholder Inputs into the GWO Standard Creation Process

GWO standards are designed to enable participants to achieve learning objectives according to the defined stakeholder needs and business outcomes. The priority for all learning objectives should be how participants can apply what they have learned in various contexts or situations in their job, not in the training centre. If a participant is able to use the right manual handling technique in the training, but not on the job, the training initiative has failed, so our emphasis is always on fidelity with training for the real world. Using a four-stage approach GWO clarifies, what wind technicians must be able to do and take responsibility for, to mitigate risks and so avoid injuries and accidents. The first stage is risk assessment clarifying and analysing hazards and risks in relation to relevant work situations in the wind industry. In stage two: decisions are made on what actions or knowledge should be applied as precautions to mitigate the clarified risks. In stage three the learning objective is identified. In other words; decisions are made on what technicians must be able to do to mitigate the risk. Lastly, the learning objective and the learning activities are connected so that training providers then design suitable learning activities, where the required abilities are practiced in order to reach the learning objectives. 

During 2021 GWO’s Committee mandated the Secretariat’s Standards Development Team to spearhead a longer term organisational move from a ‘waterfall’ project process to an ‘agile’ way of working common today in many industries. Agile is an iterative approach that helps teams deliver value to their customers faster and with fewer headaches. an agile team delivers work in small, but consumable, increments rather than focusing on a climactic launch. Project requirements, plans, and results are evaluated continuously so teams have a natural mechanism for responding to change quickly.

Benefits of the agile approach are:
  1. Increased quality of training standards
  2. Optimising resource utilisation (workforce, time, etc.)
  3. Increased flexibility and innovation
  4. Increased customer and employee satisfaction
  5. Faster delivery to market

Team training in the new approach took place in the first half of 2021 with new projects gradually being initiated in the new approach while longer projects have continued through to their completion in the previous system. It should be emphasised that despite the transition in ways of working GWO’s objectives and commitment to high quality standards creation is unaltered.