Ellis Training Works founder and MD John Ellis explains the strapline: ‘Committed to education, not just passing exams’.
We say our training is about education, not just passing exams. Here are a few thoughts about what we actually mean by this statement.
When we sat down with our marketing people to look at how to promote the courses we offer at Ellis Training Works, it turned out to be a very useful experience, because it forced us to look at what is most important in the training we provide.
Ellis Training Works is certainly in the business of imparting skills and awarding certification. But our ‘unique selling point’ is to do with something far more important and valuable than that – it’s about knowledge.
The difference between knowledge and skills is the difference between what someone is doing, and why they’re doing it.
Having the skill to do the practical things is important but pretty straight forward, most people can be taught to braze, make joints, fit gauges, add refrigerant, recover refrigerants and so on, quite quickly. Once a person has the ‘skills’, they can use them pretty much for ever. But, they will be reliant on someone who has the ‘knowledge to tell them which skills to use and when.
For example when a faulty system is reported it requires someone with sufficient ‘knowledge’ of the system and the refrigerant properties, air properties and or electrical systems to diagnose the fault using their knowledge before the skills can be put to use.
Our aim is to provide sufficient skills and knowledge in the short time that people are with us in the training centre so that they can practice and develop them while at work.
Ellis Training Works puts great emphasis on equipping trainees with the kind of understanding that will allow them to use their knowledge and their skills to solve problems. It’s not necessarily something you can convey quickly or instantly and it does depend on having an attitude that brings a genuine thirst for knowledge and an enthusiasm for wanting to know more.
I’ve always loved staying at the forefront of thinking in my industry – it’s what enabled me to start this training company of ours in the first place. Like so many industries, ours is constantly on the move. Continuous developments in technology and updated regulations demand not just new skills, but new understanding. The old scenario, where engineers did their initial training, became certificated and then worked through a long career without any further training, is long gone. And that’s a good thing.
What is really important now, is a kind of incremental, non-stop approach to learning, where engineers, in the course of their work, learn something new almost every day by applying their skill and knowledge. This, more than anything else, is what will ensure a healthy future for the refrigeration and air-conditioning industry.