Kal Tire keeps training rolling in virtual environment

As a registered training organisation, Kal Tire helps trainee tyre technicians rise up through the industry ranks with an online virtual training room and on-the-job learning within its Australian operations.

During 2020, many companies were forced to transition their work, training and education to an online format to keep students engaged with their coursework.

Registered training organisation and tyre management and supply partner to the mining sector, Kal Tire, joined this trend by introducing a virtual training room to deliver the theoretical components of its tyre fitting course.

What started as a solution that kept its own students learning throughout the pandemic has become a permanent service offered by Kal Tire, which now runs a virtual training room for external students.

Kal Tire’s courses teach its future tyre technicians the fundamentals of the job, with safety as the primary focus.

By completing theory in the virtual training room and the physical components of the job in their own workplace, Kal Tire human resources manager Dominique Kesler says students become familiar with their site, team and equipment.

“As all training is done at their appointed site, using familiar tools and equipment, it is a huge benefit because it gives students that familiarity while they’re starting to learn a new trade,” Kesler tells Australian Mining.

“We have introduced a virtual training room which allows us to deliver the theory components weekly. It’s been great in that we have been given opportunities to find new mediums to expand our training.”

The Kal Tire virtual training room is held as an open session by the company’s lead trainer, taking every trainee in Australia through 16 sessions to support them during their on-the-job learning and prepare them for their practical assessment component of the course.

Kal Tire training coordinator Nigel Watson says it has not only allowed the company to keep its trainees actively learning during the pandemic, but has also given them a less intrusive environment to cover these topics.

“The virtual training room is improved on a previous training model,” Watson says.

“In the past, students may not have been able to go into such in-depth discussion and trainers wouldn’t be able to deliver knowledge this way in a normal workplace situation, with the busy activities around the tyre workshop.

“In this way, the virtual training room has really improved the delivery of the theory aspect and accelerated students’ learning towards assessment.”

In addition to giving Kal Tire the flexibility to make changes to how its courses were offered during the height of the pandemic, being a registered training organisation also allows the company to assess and certify potential or existing team members.

It enables Kal Tire to reduce the need to recruit new tyre technicians externally, bringing them directly into the business to complete their qualifications while learning on
the job.

“Experienced and qualified earthmover tyre technicians can be hard to find so the ability to recruit, train, assess and certify our own team members has enabled Kal Tire to expand its workforce in line with our growing mining tyre servicing business,” Kesler explains.

“This approach allows Kal Tire to train new recruits to the highest standards, with safety always at the forefront of learning.

“It is our number one priority to be able to use our knowledge, skills and experience, and sharing that is creating a safer environment for not just the Kal Tire community, but the customer sites we service as well.”

After identifying tyre safety and maintenance knowledge gaps in the mine maintenance field, Kal Tire set out to not only recruit eager, new technicians but upskill existing maintenance workers with the knowledge required in a typical tyre workshop.

Kal Tire also offers refresher and training assessments, as well as recognition of prior learning for students with experience in a tyre workshop or within the mining industry, tailoring the best course for each individual student’s needs.

“With a skills gap in the industry and tyres being part of a mine’s maintenance department, tyre workshops are often overseen by people who have a mechanical background, for example previous diesel fitters who have risen through the maintenance ranks,” Watson explains.

“These people may not necessarily understand the finer details of the hazards and controls of tyre maintenance, so we have developed training which gives them a real inside look to expose them to the risks and controls of a tyre workshop.”

With some of Kal Tire’s earlier trainees progressing as trainers themselves, the company’s training options are a solid investment in its future and the wider tyre management industry.

“We are extremely proud to be a registered training organisation and with that our ability to improve and maintain a high safety standard,” Kesler says.

“It’s a great initiative. Majority of the time our trainees are locals, so we are putting back into and supporting local communities, which is part of our aim for Kal Tire.”

This article also appears in the February issue of Australian Mining.

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