Once upon a time
- The protagonist:
During more than 28 years, an electrical technician enterprise has been working in the building and construction sector. They decided to join a tender for the construction project of La Vallée residence, which included 24 lodgings with a surface of 612 m2 at Origny-Sainte-Benoite in the Hauts de France region. Given their knowledge and experience in implementing electrical installation projects, the enterprise was hired for the project. As part of the contract, it agreed to a training clause that required their employees to pursue a training program, namely the “Formation Integrée au Travail” (FIT on its french acronym).
- The situation:
Given the necessary order of the construction and building process, the electrical technicians joined the project a few months after its launch when the walls were ready. Their arrival was accompanied by an observation of the progress of the project. Their discussion about the project status was heard by a member of another professional team, as the electrical technicians criticised the construction of a “blue wall”. The wall was built with hollow brick that contained pores in the surface, letting the air, water, and even light pass through. In their uninformed opinion, this compromised the building airtightness.
However, the technicians did not pay further attention to this finding, they resigned and started their usual procedure: drill for installing the wires, as they always did. They let their outdated and inappropriate old experience and knowledge on the field guide their assessment about the practices of the other professions. This coincidence of several work teams at the same time in the worksite created the conditions for deploying the FIT training. The training occasion permitted the different professions to meet in one space, discuss their different missions and build a shared understanding.
Then one day
At the beginning, the technicians rejected the training. The opportunity to train without assuming any transportation cost, and the fact of the training taking place at the worksite, were attractive to them however. The updating in regulations, materials and techniques were appreciated by the candidates as well.
The first of the FIT modules addressed cross-working skills and brought the opportunity to update their knowledge about other professions’ missions and raised their awareness on the impacts of their work on others’ contributions.
Only through deploying these training modules, the electrical technicians knew that the blue walls were not blue because of the material colour but because it has an airtight membrane, called “aéroblue”. It is applied on the hollow bricks surface achieving an insulated performant wall. Additionally, they understood that drilling that wall would make the wall no longer tight, so they redesigned their installation plan and for future project drilling is no longer an option.
Beyond the improvements in gestures, techniques, and raw materials selection, one major contribution of the training on the worksite comes from the social interaction among workgroups. The market development drives enterprises to specify in certain tasks, which makes it increasingly hard to hold a high level of communication among different professionals enrolled in the same project. This rupture of information flux has facilitated the outdating of qualified professionals towards others’ missions beyond their one. This can be translated into 1. negative impact of their work on others’ results and 2. a waste of potential synergies derived from the cross-work coordination.
Therefore, it becomes relevant to observe in detail the candidates’ behaviour, the interactions with their colleagues and their notions about their knowledge and skills. Understanding this kind of dynamics can be essential for succeeding in the project interventions, in particular the actions for training and for encouraging upskill among the DIY workforces and the strategies for assessing workers of small worksites. It is important to share information across professions at the worksite and contribute to the reduction of the prejudices of the different professionals towards each other.
Manuel Esteban Arias
Project manager, PF – Practee Formations (France)
Manuel Esteban is a Colombian economist with experiences in academy, as economic history assistant, and research, for the public sector in topics like financial markets and value chains. After pursuing master’s degree in Sustainable development economics in the University of Paris Patheon Sorbonne, Manuel joined Practee as intern, as a so he engaged into the BUSleague project.