When it comes to wind energy projects, Airway Services sets the highest standards of service and expert solutions, and a big reason for that is their training program.
Of course, when it comes to any of their services, safety is the most important factor to consider, which is why they focus much of their training program on how to safely perform the tasks required of the job.
“The main focus of our training is helping our guys to recognize the up-tower hazards that they’re gonna encounter on the job, as well as how to mitigate that risk,” said Dustin Jenson, the Director of Safety and Training for Airway Services. “We focus a lot on fall protection and proper climbing techniques. But rescue is also a big part of our training. If something goes wrong up tower, our team needs to be prepared to get an injured worker down tower quickly and safely.”
Jenson said that the Airway Services training program also focuses on climbing, fall protection, first air techniques, fire awareness, and basic manual handling.
“We also get into some of the technical side,” Jenson stated. “We do electrical safety training, like how to recognize potential for an electrical shock or an arc flash. We teach our folks how to recognize the equipment that poses certain levels of risk, and the higher levels of risk when it comes to high voltage electrocution and arc flashes, and how to protect themselves. We also teach them the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) that’s required to be able to work in those environments.”
Additionally, the Airway Services team learns about confined space awareness – how to recognize confined spaces and some of the processes that need to be put in place before actually entering a confined space.
It’s not just the safety aspect that the training program focuses on, however. Airway Services also provides technical training that focuses on basic electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic training that ensures each technician understands what is actually taking place in the work that they do.
Before the creation of this training program, technicians would spend a few hours learning the basics of tower maintenance, and some of the safety hazards that go along with that. But both technicians and supervisors realized that this kind of work required a much more thorough, well-rounded, intentional training program.
“The first thing that we did was put together a training plan,” Jenson said. “We turned from an as-needed basis to a very structured process for when we hire a technician. We outlined the training requirements that they had to have. We committed time to that training, and we went from a two or three day training up to about a minimum of two weeks of training, and then we committed to that kind of timeline. And we made sure that all of our teams went through the same training program. We’ve added courses over time. We’ve dedicated more time, more resources, and more personnel to be able to deliver that training, to make sure that we have the best team possible.”
And that’s exactly what they do have. Airway Services has seen an uptake in employee satisfaction and they have also gotten an enormous amount of positive feedback over the years, commending how much time, energy, and resources they’ve spent to make their training program the very best it could be.
“We get technicians that come to us from other companies and many times we hear from those folks that ‘Hey, this is probably the best training I’ve ever gone through,’” Jenson revealed. “They say ‘This is the best training that we’ve ever received.’ We continually get that feedback.’”
The feedback doesn’t just come from technicians, however. It also comes from other industry leaders who have recognized just how vital the training program is to not only Airway Services, but to the wind industry in general.
Airway Services recently achieved their Global Wind Organization Certification for teaching wind organization, basic safety, and basic technical training courses. Airway was audited by a third party, who evaluated their safety management system, their curriculum, and the qualifications of their trainers, in order to ensure that their training aligns with the Global Wind Organization standard.
“What GWO has done is, they’ve partnered with a lot of companies, just like ours, and made them external training providers under their certification,” Jenson said. “What this certificate shows is that Airway Services is now certified as its own GWO Training Facility, completely independent from the other partners that we’ve worked with in the past.”
The GWO certification is proof positive about how much time, energy, and care has gone into Airway Services’ training program. Airway Services is committed to ensuring the safety of its technicians, and the standard of quality that it has become known for.
“Our thorough training program has helped us keep our technicians safe, which is the most important aspect,” Jenson said. “But it’s also allowed us to bid certain projects, to go out and get bigger contracts with larger owners and operators and OEM’s because they look at us as a company that is committed to our team. We’re committed to training our people in the way that the industry recognizes as the very best.”