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Finding, Training & Retaining Employees - Part 7 of a Series

Related Technical Instruction Justification

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In October’s article, we introduced some of the common Related Technical Instruction (RTI) classes that can be beneficial when built into an apprenticeship program for the moldmaking industry.  Here, we will continue with a brief justification for additional RTI classes.

Applied Metallurgy: We use the word “applied” because metallurgy is hard to put into context if the class becomes too concerned with molecular structure and how it relates to a material’s readings on a stress/strain curve. 

Metallurgy can be a fascinating topic if it covers the areas that are relevant to machining and moldmaking. Its study can be extremely helpful if the discussion remains focused on mechanical properties, heat treatment and the effects of alloying, etc.

Introduction to Manual Machining: For years, educators and shopfloor managers have debated the relevance of teaching manual machining along with CNC machining, as opposed to teaching solely CNC machining. I have held programs in each format, and the apprentices who have experience on manual machines always end up outperforming the apprentices who do not. 

Manual machining involves the senses. You can hear the cut, feel the cut, see the cut and even smell the cut. This teaches the apprentice valuable lessons about tool life, cutting pressures, chip evacuation and more. Creating a program that involves direct manual machining knowledge/skill development is strongly recommended.

Communication and Leadership: The value of a class or a number of classes that cover and practice effective communication and leadership principles, specifically for the shop floor, cannot be underestimated. Making complex plastic molds is a team-oriented exercise. 

For example, a consultant who works in the stamping die industry is often called upon to help companies solve complex production problems. He reports that most of the time he only needs to facilitate a safe communication environment, which helps the company’s employees solve the problem themselves. These types of classes have the power to unlock the innovative potential of your workers. 

Mold Designing and Building: No apprenticeship program would be complete without a comprehensive list of plastic mold designing and building classes that are relevant to the specific job description of the apprentice.  

Every apprentice should have some formal classes on mold design. However, if an apprentice is only going to program and operate a CNC machine, he may not need as much mold design instruction as an apprentice moldmaker. On the other hand, an apprentice designer will need as much entry-level to advanced mold design instruction as possible. 

In February’s series installment, we will continue to examine the remaining RTI that a company should consider for its apprenticeship training. We will also begin to explore methods of RTI delivery.