Toro distributor Lely UK has further strengthened its industry-leading operator training programme with the launch of a new 'Train the Trainer' scheme, developed in partnership with West Midlands golf resort, The Belfry.
For large resorts with a hectic schedule and higher staff turnover, regularly sending greenkeepers and groundsmen for off-site manufacturer training can be a real drain on time, budgets and staff resources. With three 18-hole golf courses and a grounds staff of between 58 in the summer and 48 in the winter, The Belfry's director of golf courses and grounds, Kenny Mackay, certainly found this to be the case.
Kenny put his predicament to Lely's training division, leading to the creation of a pilot 'train the trainer' scheme. This saw the resort's more experienced operators trained to impart their learning to junior colleagues direct and on home turf, instead of having to schedule an on-site course led by the Lely training team and/or attending a session at the company's St Neots national training centre.
Commenting on the scheme's creation, Kenny says: "We've trained our qualified greenkeepers, gardeners, golf course construction staff and mechanics so that they can do inductions for new starters and refresher workshops. We can provide operator and pre-start checks training in-house, plus hope to do more mechanically-minded workshops in the near future to show the importance of safe practice to operators."
Kenny says that the scheme has brought multiple benefits. "Our staff have been very positive - they like learning in a familiar environment through training delivered by their colleagues. As a business we also have complete flexibility to organise training around our schedule, in turn helping us keep on track with our training goals. Better trained staff also reduces operator error and the associated machinery repair costs, plus improves our end-product - the golf course itself! It's the perfect arrangement."
An additional advantage, says Kenny, is the professional and personal development becoming an in-house training provider brings. "We hope our trainers recognise that they have been given an opportunity to expand their skill-set. Their qualification is something they've invested in - with The Belfry committed to providing in-house training, they will remain qualified trainers for as long as they keep up this new responsibility, standing them in good stead for the future."
The experiment was such a success, that the course has now been rolled out across Lely's Toro training programme for 2011/12. Kenny is confident fellow venues of a similar size and scale to The Belfry will reap the benefits of keeping operator training in-house. "Having your trainers with you 24/7 means you can easily identify where and when you need training, and address this more quickly and to suit your own schedule. It's very convenient and I'd certainly urge others to consider it."
Full details of Lely's 'Train the Trainer' course are contained in the company's Toro Training Guide 2011-12, which can be requested by visiting lelytraining.co.uk. Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01480 226800.