Distance Learning To Close the Skills Gap

Meridium’s distance learning is aimed at assisting companies to retain skilled staff.
Published: Mon 26 May 2014

Experienced workers are retiring from the power industry in record numbers and retention rates are dropping faster than ever before as better employment opportunities are sought after. Also, the power sector is struggling to attract college graduates. This is according to the Utility Analytics Institute’s recently published 2014 Grid Analytics Report.

The report points out that the primary challenge associated with utility analytics initiatives especially is the “lack of necessary skills and staff. The task of finding and keeping a technology-savvy workforce has become a major concern.

In our article, Research and Software Grant to Close Skills Gap, we discuss how the skills shortage has become a threat to business transformation in the utility sector.

In recognition of this growing problem, Meridium-a global leader in asset performance management software and services has introduced new distance learning programs through its Meridium Institute which supports software training, certification and education.

Develop and diversify skills

The programs will help learners build, develop and diversify their skills. The internet-based Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) allows users to receive training wherever they are, helping them become more efficient and effective in achieving their organization’s business goals.

Meridium’s training approach enhances overall user adoption and capabilities by combining a mixture of traditional instructor-led classroom training, supplemented with Meridium VILT distance-eLearning and on-the-job coaching to provide challenging growth opportunities for their workers.

The new Meridium VILT distance learning program brings the classroom to the user, offering a dynamic, real-time, visual, audio, and computer screen interaction between instructor and students. Delivered in convenient three- to-four hour sessions over a series of days or weeks in the convenience of home or office, Meridium VILT will remove travel barriers and optimize productivity by allowing participants to continue their normal job functions for a portion of the same days as training is scheduled.

VILT will allow users with existing Meridium experience to continue their education, prepare for certification, and maximize Meridium software capabilities regardless of their location.

“The return-on-investment associated with Meridium software is not realized simply by owning it, but rather through teams of client employees using it efficiently,” says Mr Hart. “Meridium’s distance learning program supports a continuous education process to meet the lifecycle requirements of our user community, and can play a significant role in their career advancement.”

Program will attract (and keep) skilled staff

The on-going education programs and metric-based certifications will also help companies attract and retain skilled staff members.

Meridium today also announced enhancements to its certification program that will help individual users solidify and demonstrate their expertise while driving organizations to identify areas of strength and weakness. The Meridium Certification Program offers a highly flexible environment that allows clients to develop a customizable approach that matches the needs of their business and employees.

Bonz Hart, Meridium CEO, explains that today, employees have less time to enjoy formalized learning, but are expected to perform at high levels of proficiency. He expands, “The plant of the future will require a skilled workforce, and as employers compete for workers, offering continuous education programs and metric-based certifications will be an absolute must-have in order to effectively entice and hold on to the best talent.”

According to a Booz & Company study, poor user adoption of business transformation programs results from failure to prepare the organization to accept, absorb and adopt new capabilities. Specifically, ineffective training and communication are the main instigators.

Surveys show that 40% of employees who experience poor job training leave their positions within the first year of employment. They often blame the lack of skills training and development as the main reason for leaving.

Further reading

Booz and Company-Business Value Realization in Transformation Programs-Improving User Adoption of New Capabilities [pdf]

Utility Analytics Institute-The 2014 Grid Analytics Report