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Training onsite staff: Why the real education begins after the degree

Many people believe that obtaining a degree or certification is the end of their education, but in reality, it’s just the beginning. On-the-job training is essential for any employee attempting to fully understand their role and develop the skills necessary to excel in their position.

Which isn’t to say that a firm grounding in basic theory isn’t needed. Taking software development as an example, the fundamental skills needed to develop code aren’t something that can be rope-learnt in a few weeks. For one, no one has the time to dedicate to teaching skills that would normally take months or even years to learn. Different industries also have their own standards when it comes to training. But, given a thorough background and knowledge of the subject, a graduate will do most of their learning in their first few years of work.

In this blog, we talk about our own experiences with training staff onsite and why we built Datanest to help bridge the gap between junior employees and their knowledgable supervisors.

Industry standards. 

In today's rapidly changing business environment, employers need employees who are adaptable and able to learn new skills quickly. 

Getting out of the testing playground helps graduates learn the difference between bright ideas and practicality. In our own experience hiring from local university, we found new recruits who came to the fore with exciting new ideas, and the skills to implement them, but no experience taking a software concept from initial pitch to final rollout. This element of real world trial and error always gives way to hundreds of unforeseen hiccups, such as incompatible software, working to a deadline and navigating existing client needs. The code didn’t just have to standup in a simulation, but work with clients who didn’t know the brief and weren’t familiar with technology.

Self management.

One of the most important skills in any field is learning how to manage time and seek out new opportunities to learn, especially when there’s downtime. No matter what your official role in the business is, the chances are you’ll be called on to handle other tasks outside your specialty, or handle information beyond your understanding to help out your managers. Learning how to delegate time efficiently takes on a whole new meaning when your time is on the clock. 

‘On the job’ training.

Learning to prioritise tasks and use ‘slow periods’ to improve your knowledge comes with the job. Even in performing tasks central to the job a graduate was hired for, they’ll find differences in what employer’s expect, based on their company’s preference.  Every company operates differently and has its own unique culture and way of doing things. On-the-job training allows employees to understand these nuances and tailor their skills to fit the specific needs of their employer.

Additionally, on-the-job training is a great way for employees to build relationships with their colleagues and supervisors. It provides opportunities for employees to network, get feedback, and learn from more experienced colleagues. This can be especially beneficial for new employees, as it helps them to become integrated into the company culture and feel more comfortable in their new role.

Responding to changes.

The world never stands still. Whenever a better, cost effective solution presents itself (especially when others start adopting it) those changes will effect the way a company operates. 

Within software, these changes are pretty much around the clock. Responding to new programming languages, different interfaces and other competitive products is all part of the job. These changes come much faster than they can be implemented into a university programme, meaning a graduate has to learn how to respond to changes and step out of their comfort zone much more readily.

How Datanest can help.

While we work in software engineering now, Datanest was founded out of years spent in the contaminated land and geotech industry. However, the problems inherent there are pretty familiar everywhere else — especially when communicating knowledge between mangers and junior workers. No new graduate is ever going to know everything to look out for, while senior managers are often too busy to leave the office and oversee their work. For a lot of consultancies the field staff are often the least experienced, most being recent graduates and the foundation of most reports start with data collected in the field. 

Datanest allows users to create field collection forms that are built with  specific guidelines on what information to collect, but also leaves room for any additional data collection. Notes can even be generated for certain reporting metrics, to ensure the right information is collected. To achieve this, we built flexible data collection apps that can be edited by any user of Datanest, while specific templates can be saved for use again and again. This creates a much more dynamic data gathering process that benefits from experienced knowledge without bringing it out of its office.

All datasets collected are sent through Hub, where they’re turned into spreadsheets that can be altered and even commented on. This allows managers to view individual findings and edit these with their expert eye, reducing the amount of individual contact time needed.

Datanest is continually evolving, with the help of graduates and senior staff alike, to improve communication between departments and clients. If you’d like to test out exactly what the software can do, trial Datanest for free for 14 days.