Stacey Lucas, commercial and marketing director at Sontay, explains the importance of keeping up-to-date in an ever-changing market and how new courses are making it easier than ever to take part in training.
The building controls industry is a constantly changing landscape, especially with the Internet of Things (IoT) having such a big impact on how products work and interact with each other. With the capabilities of smart devices on the rise, advancing internet connectivity means useful data can be provided from a Business Management System (BMS) to energy and facilities managers over the web to remote PCs, tablets and smartphones, collating large amounts of data.
This fast pace of innovation means installers and electrical engineers need to constantly adapt their skill set and increase their knowledge, whether they are new to the industry or not.
By keeping up-to-date with the latest technology and the products and solutions on offer, installers can help their customers make more informed decisions about how they control their buildings. End-users are becoming more aware of ‘smart’ buildings but require a lot of support in understanding what this means and how it can be applied. This can open more business opportunities to installers, but they need to be armed with the expert knowledge to help their customers and this is where training becomes so important.
Training can take many shapes whether it is a CPD course, manufacturer training or hands-on demonstrations. Generally, this is all face-to-face training and there are huge benefits to doing it this way, but new courses are being developed that can be taken digitally.
New, e-learning based training can be beneficial to those engineers or companies who cannot afford to take time out of their busy schedules to attend a full day, or even two days of training. It’s not only time that can be saved by undertaking e-learning courses, it can have a financial benefit as there will be no additional travel or hotel expenses. It makes sense from a sustainability perspective as well, less travelling means less impact on your carbon footprint.
Flexibility is key when it comes to training. Participants can take an e-learning course whenever they want – even in the middle of the night if that works best. Students can also take as long as they like to complete it so can learn at their own pace. Evidence from our own e-learning platform has shown that the people who took the course felt they learnt a great amount in a short period of time and believed it was a great alternative to classroom-based learning.
Digital training courses can work for people in all stages of their careers. Whether they are an apprentice starting out in the industry or a seasoned professional who is looking to refresh their skills or expand their knowledge.
Classroom learning still has its place, particularly for practical learning and the interaction with a teacher and/or other students can help in more complex subjects, but e-learning is a great option for short and easily digested topics.
Associations can provide a wealth of training information and the Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) is no different, it is a great resource when it comes to training. The courses on offer range in complexity and electrical engineers can choose the courses they feel are most relevant to them.
Maybe it is a ‘Fundamentals of HVAC and Building Technology’ course that gives an overview of systems and technologies used in the heating, ventilating and air conditioning industry or a course toward their advanced technical certificate such as ‘Control Functions in Heating Plants’ or ‘Control of Ventilation and Air Conditioning’. In order to increase the accessibility to these courses through the UK, the Sontay Academy became one of the BCIA training partners.
The Sontay Academy is an initiative set up to build on the company’s already existing education foundation. Having manufactured building controls for over 40 years, Sontay has worked hard to provide a premium service in the HVAC and climate control industry, training clients and customers for many years with great success.
For those working within the building controls industry, training is absolutely vital. The explosion in IoT technology and smart buildings is changing our industry at a rapid pace, and you need to keep up. With new training courses being developed all the time and e-learning platforms available on which to learn, the opportunity to learn is there waiting.