The return of the factory model school


Change is a constant and requires companies to evolve continually. Training has become the key to providing continuous improvement in companies so that they can stand out in the market, not because of the tools they use, but because of how they use them.


For this reason, corporations need to set a side a part of their budget for use in continuing education. As schools take time to adapt to change and to markets - and are more focused on core skills - the trend will be to revive the concept of the factory model school, where training takes place within the company, providing a quick response that meets specific, immediate needs.


From technical areas to soft skills


What should the training cover? All the soft skills: behaviours, interpersonal relationships and pressure management, so that employees can deal with pressure arising from projects, and conflict and emotional management – huge weak points within companies.


Another key area is organisation, focusing on the role of each department and how their performance impacts others and the organisation as a whole.


Everything related to best practices when it comes to using the tools that stem from implementing new management practices, such as Lean, which require a great deal of adaptation and tailored knowledge. However, technical training is just as important as behavioural, including training in areas such as welding and technical drawing.


Clear communication and respecting cultural differences


Other essential skills that could be improved upon include public speaking and how to communicate clearly in writing, avoiding the possibility of multiple interpretations that lead to misunderstandings and conflicts. These skills are becoming more and more important as companies are increasingly working against the clock.


In a global marketplace, addressing cultural differences is also imperative – an aspect which is still neglected in standardised education. To avoid culture shocks it is important to know, for example, that different cultures have vastly varied approaches to business meetings. While it can be generalised that some cultures (for example German and other Nordic cultures) get straight to the point, in a clear and structured way, others (for example Portuguese or other Latin cultures) tend to start with small talk before delving into numbers and conditions.


A growing need for sales


Sales, a position that is so often underestimated, is fundamental to companies. A good trader will increasingly have to be an expert in market analysis, statistics and trading, in addition to having vast technical knowledge about the product or service they are selling.


The resurgence of factory model schools results from the need to reinvent basic knowledge, adapting it to realities faced in the industry. On-site, on-the-job and in-house training are essential ingredients in a culture based on continuous innovation, both in terms of training new staff and updating the skills of longer-term employees.


Avoiding stereotyping: aligning skills with business needs


In order to open pathways into new professions such as welding, which is so relevant and in demand in industries such as metalworking, we need to encourage students to visit these industries from an early age. However, this also relies on companies providing conditions under which this is possible. With the concept of factory model schools in place, as well as a cleaner industry, this connection will be easier to make and provide more fruitful results.


In a later stage in their education, instead of retaining students merely in order to sustain themselves, schools should promote Master’s programmes that take place in the workplace, so that students can truly hone their skills, becoming specialists as they adjust to working in business environments.


Nowadays, the difficulty encountered in hiring new staff in key areas is one of the biggest threats to business growth in some industries. The concept of factory model schools may be part of the solution to this problem.


Key Ideas


1 – In order to allow for continuous innovation, corporations need to set a side a part of their budget for use in continuing education.


2 - While tools are available to everyone, training in how to use them will enhance best practices when using them.


3 – Soft skills related to business organisation, oral and written communication, training on cultural differences and the scope of a sales team are mandatory areas in which training should be carried out.


4 - In order to learn about new professions and align their skills with the needs faced by businesses, it is important that students visit industries early on.


5 - Continuing education and closer links with schools could be a solution to one of the biggest threats to business growth in some industries: the difficulty of hiring new staff.