Raising the standard

Dave Curtis of the Source Testing Association (STA), outlines a new initiative to provide a core level of practical expertise for stack testing personnel.

A major cost for stack testing companies is the recruitment and retention of competent staff. External training of personnel has often become a necessity as many companies can only provide a limited amount of "on the job" training. Some STA members provide training services and assistance is provided by the Association to help develop courses that satisfy current requirements. When specific training is not available, the STA will provide courses for its members. A key to providing quality training is course delivery. It is the view of the STA that this has to be provided by practicing, experienced trainers.

Experience of recruitment has shown that academic qualifications on their own are not enough. Practical skills are the crucial means of getting the work done on site, and an ability to deal with problems as they occur is vital.

Practical expertise
The STA has started an initiative to provide a core level of practical expertise for stack testing personnel. The course will involve a classroom-based module where theoretical aspects are taught in basic form. There will then be a practical component where opportunities for 'hands-on' work, such as fault diagnosis on typical equipment will be provided. After satisfactory completion, a project phase will be undertaken, in collaboration with sponsoring companies. In this part, students will take part in on-site, supervised, stack sampling operations. Also covered in the site phase will be audits based on the classroom guidelines.

Finally, students will go back to the classroom and complete a review of the course. Funding for the programme will be from grant monies, where available, and a charge made on the students where appropriate.



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