Rebecca Murphy, GW Plastics, explains why in-house training is crucial to the advancement of manufacturing.

Manufacturing companies often overlook the importance of offering training programs, both for people inside and outside of their organisation. Between gaining new skills and nurturing existing abilities, providing ways to improve and empower your workforce and community is crucial to the success of your business and the industry. By offering unique opportunities to gain a range of skills in world-class manufacturing environments, employers are rapidly strengthening their communities and ensuring that their teams are as educated as possible.

There are three main reasons why manufacturing companies should offer in-house training programs and internships:

Boost the local economy and generate more manufacturing jobs

Many companies create training opportunities such as internships with the hope of spreading their passion for manufacturing throughout the community and providing the local youth with an exciting reason to stay in the area. By demonstrating that manufacturing offers attractive careers both for today’s youth and experienced workforce, more jobs in this field are starting to be generated locally and nationally. This past summer, GW Plastics hired five summer interns and we are already seeing a positive rate of return, as one intern has returned to work part-time.

I am proof that this route truly works. If it had not been for an internship at a manufacturing company in southern Vermont, I would not have sought out other manufacturing opportunities in Vermont and ultimately chosen GW Plastics. Due to the current state of our economy, students are always searching for opportunities to grow their skills, so if companies give them the chance to mature professionally, they will take it.

Ensure that students and employees are adequately trained

Internships and apprenticeships also ensure that students intending on having careers in manufacturing are adequately trained. Many colleges simply are not doing enough to create proficient technicians and moulders, so it is up to outside programs and businesses to make sure that the students graduating from these schools will excel in this field. For many manufacturing companies, the customer base includes Fortune 500 companies and global OEMs, so it is imperative that the employees are the best they can be in order to successfully mold safety-critical parts. Manufacturing companies need to provide students with a solid learning experience that will shape the way they think in order to ultimately create capable technicians and engineers.

One of the ways manufacturers can accomplish this is through apprenticeship programs. GW Plastics currently offers informal apprenticeships in all of our manufacturing locations, as well as a formal two-year apprenticeship in our Tool Division in Royalton, Vermont. In the world of manufacturing, you can either recruit well-trained technicians or you can ‘grow your own’. It is important to recognize that attending a four-year liberal arts college is not practical for everyone, so offering apprenticeships is an ideal way to help students grow in a field they might not have originally considered. These internal apprenticeships create highly-qualified employees and we have hired several graduates from our apprenticeships full-time.

Company-wide standardisation

The benefits of offering internal training opportunities go far beyond increasing jobs. For companies who prioritise quality, training programs are the best way to ensure standardisation and ultimately guarantee high-quality parts. New employees come with various skill sets and knowledge-bases, making it difficult to regulate the moulding processes. Even if they are highly-trained technicians, everyone has a different way of doing their jobs, so offering a certification course helps to systemise the approach. GW Plastics’ devotion to quality and consistency required that we create a way to regiment our manufacturing, so we partnered with RJG to provide in-house manufacturing courses. These classes range from one-day introductory courses to ten day Master Moulder certifications, some of which are open to our customers as well as our employees. In this industry, it is crucial for employees to follow the guidelines created in order to mold high-quality parts, as well as for customers to understand what exactly the process entails.

Ensuring that employees are as knowledgeable as possible, leading to robust processes and the manufacturing of first-class parts, is critical in the medical plastics sector where a low-quality part can injure a patient. The benefits of offering training programs are limitless, and we encourage other companies to join us in our mission of advancing both the manufacturing world and our local communities.