100 Years of Doble: Addressing Utility Workforce Challenges
Power engineering hasn’t always had a “cool factor,” but as the power industry undergoes a digital transformation, new skills are needed.
As digitalization continues to transform the industry, engineers have found they also need to evolve themselves. Data science and big data analytics are the most important digital skillsets for the future of energy, but only 23% of organizations say this role exists internally.
The ability to analyze, interpret and act on data, and think creatively about how to solve problems, are now just as important as traditional power engineering knowledge. And engineers need to be well-equipped with both types of skillsets.
Meeting Modern Day Training Requirements
The industry’s aging and rapidly retiring workforce has left a gap in institutional knowledge and technical expertise typically passed down through hands-on training. The lack of veteran engineers to guide less experienced staff has led some companies to take a “baptism by fire” approach to development.
Throwing rookie engineers into the work may seem like a good way to get them up to speed quickly and avoid onboarding costs, but it can actually hurt in the long run. There are no guarantees that engineers will pick up the hands-on skills required to thrive in a digital era, as most don’t have the background knowledge in these areas from technical learning to sufficiently teach themselves.
Power and utility organizations need to invest in training programs to ensure employees adopt the technical and data-based skillsets required for digitalization.
How Doble is Helping Utilities Develop the Next Generation of Engineers
Understanding the very real need for modern skillsets training, Doble Engineering Company has partnered with utilities to build and nurture a workforce with the right combination of domain and digital expertise to take the industry into the future.
Our academic partnerships with Lake-Sumter State College and Richmond Community College, among others, are designed to train students on the diagnostic tools and equipment they’ll use in the real world, speeding the learning curve and transition process workers typically face when entering the field. The realistic, hands-on training experience gives engineers a solid foundation of the traditional aspects of power engineering, so they enter the workforce ready to apply this knowledge to interpret data and solve tangible problems.
Beyond the classroom, mentorships and apprenticeships also offer significant value for incoming engineers. The personalized approaches can identify development needs and ensure employees learn the skills they need to early on, including data analytics and interpretation. These programs also nurture more independent and confident engineers, who are ready to tackle new problems in the field.
The best way to find a mentor is to connect with experienced engineers in the community. Doble’s events are a great way to form these relationships – as much information is exchanged over coffee and handshakes as during the presentations,
On-site, online and blended training programs are readily available on a variety of traditional topics. Whether an engineer is new to the industry or more seasoned and looking to brush up on skills, these courses are taught by experienced professionals and provide a wealth of information on power transformers, protection theory, laboratory services, substation equipment, asset management, and more. The practical training can target specific skillsets and development areas that improve make it easier for engineers to adopt newer competencies and advance their careers.
While the specific technologies the power industry relies on may change, the need for knowledgeable, competent, and driven power engineers will remain constant. As we continue to adopt and implement the new tools, our industry will need to adjust our training and education abilities to upskill the existing workforce and prepare the next generation of engineers for the future.
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