Case Study for Training on Selling Skills by ntn51136


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Selling measurement skills
NPL is expanding the availability
of its dimensional measurement
training courses and also
expanding the portfolio of
courses that make up its Training
Framework. Andrew Allcock

I  n late summer 2007, the National
   Physical Laboratory (NPL – see box,
below) launched an initiative to help
drive up dimensional measurement skills
in manufacturing for component
inspection. It was founded on industry
feedback highlighting that, with modern,
push-button metrology technology and
the fall-off in apprenticeships, there was
a lack of knowledge about measurement
first principles and fundamentals.
    The solution was to be, and remains,
the development of training courses, with
these delivered through a network of

                                               Knowledge of measurement fundamentals has been lost – NPL courses aim to correct that
 Who and what is NPL?
                                               trainers. NPL develops the training               so we have expanded that. That means
 The National Physical Laboratory (NPL),
                                               material and accredits trainers, but does         that, in addition to existing companies
 headquartered in Teddington, Middlesex, is
                                               not actually deliver training. The ‘sale’ of      such as Hexagon Metrology and
 the UK’s National Measurement Institute
                                               this training material and accreditation is       Mitutoyo, we are also engaging or have
 and a world-leading centre of excellence in
                                               a commercial business activity for NPL,           engaged large training companies, such
 developing and applying the most accurate
                                               which is funded to a significant degree by        as VT Training, plus Gen II, and
 measurement standards, science and
                                               government.                                       measurement technology developer and
                                                   NPL set out on a course to develop            supplier Metris.
     NPL sits at the heart of the National
                                               training materials to support four levels             “In addition, Rolls-Royce is now also a
 Measurement System. It is the Department
                                               of training (see box, p26), and, following        deliverer, having pioneered the use of the
 for Innovation, Universities and Skills’
                                               initial launch of Level 1 (see Machinery,         courses in the first place, and is using the
 (DIUS) main provider of measurement and
                                               page 21, January 2008), has unveiled              course materials in its Derby apprentice
 materials research programmes and
                                               Level 2, with Level 3 to be piloted later         school. The first week of the first year
 infrastructure, working with business to
                                               this year. Tom Ashby, business                    covers the importance of measurement,
 ensure measurement accuracy.
                                               development manager for training at               for example, so our Level 1 training is
     NPL has over 100 years of experience in
                                               NPL, takes up the story, explaining this          now being delivered, instead of the
 the development and application of
                                               and other changes and developments                original material. First courses were
 measurement techniques, but the pursuit of
                                               that have taken place since the initiative        rolled out this month [June] at Level 1.
 measurement has often taken it beyond its
                                               was first launched.                               Other staff at Rolls-Royce are trained via
 core measurement discipline.
                                                   “A limiting factor for any training           a third party.” BAE Systems at Barrow-in-
                                               business is the capacity to deliver training,     Furness is another employer-deliverer at    • June 2009

                                                                                                            volume metrology training courses
                                                                                                            should be ready by the end of the year.
                                                                                                                Additionally, training modules at Level
                                                                                                            1 and 2 for electrical measurement will
                                                                                                            be rolled out in June, with a whole new
                                                                                                            set of deliverers brought on board to
                                                                                                            support this. Furthermore, temperature
                                                                                                            measurement Level 1 will be rolled out in
                                                                                                            September. There is common material, in
                                                                                                            terms of underpinning knowledge, in all
                                                                                                            Level 1 modules, in fact. Optical laser
                                                                                                            radiation safety officer training is yet
                                                                                                            another area, this taking in the
                                                                                                            entertainment and medical industries,
                                                                                                            for example.
                                                                                                                Returning to dimensional
                                                                                                            measurement, total numbers of
                                                                                                            certificates issued at Level 1 are around
                                                                                                            550, with 180 at Level 2. “We have quite a
     BAE Systems’ Barrow Calibration Centre delivers training on site at times that suit course delegates   long way to go to get people up to
                                                                                                            Level 2, so the need to roll out Level 3 is
     Level 1, as is Lockheed Martin in Bedford.            their supply chain companies also need to        not a burning issue yet,” Mr Ashby offers.
         “We are also working with Llandrillo              have the same level of understanding and         The progression from Level 1 to Level 2
     College, Denbigh, North Wales, and                    the same competencies.” NPL is also              he puts at around 50 per cent, although
     Coventry University to establish a                    working with the Aylesbury Training              the intention to progress is actually
     Foundation Degree that contains Level 1               Group, which has been successful in              higher; for Level 3, only 10 to 15 per cent
     in the first year and Level 2 in year two.            securing training financial support for          are expected to progress from Level 2,
     At Coventry, this Foundation Degree is in             SMEs, advises Mr Ashby.                          while for Level 4, it is anticipated that
     Metrology, while Llandrillo has put                       Expansion outside of the UK has also         only a handful of people would take this
     together a Manufacturing Engineering                  been undertaken with Bodycote MeTech,            annually. The target this year is to train
     Foundation Degree. Both are being rolled              Sweden, now taken on as a training               750 people at Level 1 and to get as many
     out for September admissions.” Coventry               deliverer. “They are about to roll out the       as those as possible on to Level 2 – “I’d be
     University was already a training                     first course in June, and they cover             disappointed if I didn’t get 200 through
     deliverer, in fact.                                   Sweden, Germany, Denmark and Finland.            this year,” Mr Ashby concludes. As to user
         The NPL’s website lists upcoming                  That gives us a nice broad reach in              benefits, there is wide acceptance that
     courses offered by various deliverers, and            Europe. We are also in negotiation with          scrap, waste and rework time are
     companies visiting the site                           companies in the USA, although we are            reduced, he adds, but no users have
     ( can then book a              working with our counterpart, NIST, in           authorised the release of specific
     course direct with the provider. NPL will             this case to get their endorsement. This         information.■
     also pursue bigger opportunities with                 will take some time.” NIST is the National
     large employers directly to stimulate
     demand for training, while deliverers will
                                                           Institute of Standards and Technology, a
                                                           federal technology agency that develops
                                                                                                             The four levels
     stimulate demand on their own account.                and promotes measurement, standards
                                                                                                             Level 1 (Measurement User) is a 3-day
     NPL is, however, working directly with                and technology.
                                                                                                             course made up of four modules; Level
     SMEs to try to identify pots of funding                   Having now launched Level 2 in the
                                                                                                             2 (Measurement Applier), also
     that will allow them to take advantage of             original dimensional measurement skills
                                                                                                             complete and about to be further
     its measurement training courses.                     area, NPL is to expand the scope of its
                                                                                                             piloted, is a 4-day course comprising
         Mr Ashby highlights pump maker Alfa               courses here. Large volume
                                                                                                             six modules; Level 3 (quality control
     Laval as a company with which it is                   measurement, taking in the application of
                                                                                                             manager/chief metrologist); Level 4, is
     working. “They have put a number of                   long distance laser-based measurement,
                                                                                                             more of a thesis-based approach, a
     their employees through Levels 1 and 2,               as used in the aerospace industry for
                                                                                                             Masters Degree.
     as has Dawson Precision Components. By                assembly purposes, is a target. NPL is
     no means are we just focusing on the first            working on this project in collaboration
     tier suppliers and blue-chip companies;               with Airbus and Bath University. The large

                                                                                                                  June 2009   •

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