"A wise investment"
Two experienced participants on the purpose and benefit of software training

© iStock.com/ fermate

Interview with Stefanie Müller, Mitteldeutsche Braunkohlengesellschaft mbH and Fabian Beierle, Pfalzwerke Netz AG

Ms Müller, you are a true training professional. Why do you come regularly?

Müller: I would not call myself a professional now. But, since there is a new update for ELCAD every year, I do think it's important to try out the new features. For me it is ideal to do this with a trainer, then any questions that arise can be answered immediately. In day-to-day business there is just no time to go through all the new features of an update.

Mr Beierle, you have already attended some training sessions. Why?

Beierle: Modern engineering software such as EB (Engineering Base) offers a whole range of possibilities and has many functions. You need intensive familiarization, especially for the first stages. The training sessions give me a quick introduction to the complex software environment and ensure that I get used to the right way of working from the start. This is an ideal basis for my continued practice.

And how do the training sessions affect your practice?

Beierle: The standard training content alone advances my practical skills, but in addition we can always repeatedly clarify specific questions of detail or industry-specific solutions. Meeting with representatives of other energy providers always offers profitable opportunities for exchange.

Müller: I am mainly responsible for change services, but I am also responsible for the transfer of correct ELCAD documentation to third parties and subsequently reviewing edits. From the seminars, I found that we edit some things in a very laborious way. My work is simply more efficient thanks to the training. There are functions that I do not need, but in recent projects I use much of what I was taught in the seminars. The topic of symbol design, for example, was very helpful.

Mr Beierle, your company has switched from RUPLAN to Engineering Base. Are there differences in the training?

Beierle: I did not notice any big differences. However, because the initial training for Engineering Base took place in-house, we were able to focus more on our wishes and needs. And a specialized small group enabled the speed of work to be increased to include further course content.

What do you think in principle about on-site in-house training at your business?

Beierle: On-site training has advantages and disadvantages. Although the travel times for in-house training are shorter and the groups smaller, the administrative burden is greater. Being able to operate outside the normal work environment and not being constantly available to colleagues also has its advantages.

Müller: The idea is not bad, it's just that unfortunately this is very difficult for us, because we sit in an open-plan office and only two out of six people work with ELCAD.

I really enjoy coming to Hanover, this way you can exchange experiences with other users.

Do you pass on what you have learned to colleagues?

Müller: Yes, after a training session we sit down together and discuss the newly acquired knowledge. But my colleague also goes regularly to the training sessions.

Beierle: As a rule, all our project team members attend the training sessions themselves. This also makes sense because passing on course content would also take time and everyone has their own individual questions. In everyday working life, there is sometimes no free space to do that.

So is it not also hard to "free up" time for training?

Beierle: The workflows are generally very tight and there is less and less time left for other things. However, if we can work more efficiently after a training session, the time spent is definitely wisely invested.

Müller: That's right, it's always an additional burden, of course, but you'll more than get that back later with improved workflows.

How often are training sessions reasonable?

Beierle: Training is essential for new software. For updates, although not essential, training is still worthwhile. After all, if you are dealing with new functions on your own and really want to usefully test them and try them out, you do need time.

Müller: That's how I see it too. I go for almost every update but I have also attended training for special topics. I think that regular training is important because in your daily routine you often do not know that you would be much more effective with other approaches or features.

What do you particularly value in the training sessions?

Müller: The variety of training. There is something for everyone. For example, with ELCAD Advanced the user can help to decide the topics.

Beierle: I particularly like the open and informal atmosphere, the speed adapted to our basic knowledge and abilities and the exchange of experience with other users.

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