When most think of qualifications at power plants, their minds usually turn toward power plant operations training. However, it is important not to lose sight of other power plant training and qualification programs that are not directly related to operation of the power plant. The training and qualification of Maintenance personnel is an important and necessary component of every power plant. Having up-to-date, effective, and comprehensive maintenance qualification and training programs will minimize downtime, increase operational availability, and improve the efficiency of your power plant.
Maintenance training and qualification programs will help plant personnel obtain the necessary knowledge and skills to be successful in their positions at the power plant. Managers should ensure that they have a program in place to take advantage of these benefits. Doing so will increase profits by reducing the amount of rework, injuries, and equipment damage.
Successful maintenance training and qualification programs at power plants are typically divided into three main areas: Mechanical, E&I, and Welding. Each position typically has various levels that must be qualified on in order to move through the program. For example, a new hire may first qualify as an entry-level mechanic, which would train them to conduct routine inspections and simple maintenance, such as component greasing and oil changes. After some time, they may proceed to qualify as a mid-level mechanic where they would obtain the skills to perform more complex maintenance tasks, such as air compressor overhauls. Training and qualifying power plant workers in this manner helps them to build experience, while acquiring additional skills they learn along the way.
If a power plant training department does not have a maintenance training and qualification program, they should strive to attain one. Managers may develop one in house or bring in outside contractors to develop the program. Either way, a program should be implemented so that the power plant may get the most from its people.
Lastly, managers must ensure that their maintenance qualification and training programs are updated periodically. Over time, new tools, equipment, and regulations can outdate a program and cause the program to lose its credibility. Consistently updating the program with required maintenance on newly installed equipment, changes in regulations, and with instructions on how to use new tools will ensure Maintenance personnel view the program as something that helps them do their job and not as a hindrance.