Conference highlights tips for educating, training employees

April 27, 2022 By    
Photo: LP Gas staff

Attendees of the National Propane Education & Training Conference learn how to conduct CETP training using iPads. (Photo: LP Gas staff)

The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) hosted its 2022 National Propane Education & Training Conference in Dallas.

The conference covered a variety of industry matters, from workforce development to updated code references and environmental messaging.

The education and training of future and current employees generated a lot of discussion. Most, if not all, conference attendees agreed that their companies have experienced significant difficulties in attracting and retaining new employees.

Safety has long been the top priority of the propane industry. As companies become creative in their hiring approaches, providing proper training to new employees is critical as ever to maintain the industry’s reputation for safe practices.

Jessica Johnson, national accounts coordinator at ThompsonGas, participated in a panel discussion and explained that the younger generations value companies that are willing to provide the training necessary to “move up.”

“Offering a very clear career path to a candidate is going to be really valuable because this next generation wants to learn and grow and develop,” Johnson says. “Not everyone wants to stay at entry level for 20 years.”

Panel participant Kim Lapierre, technical training manager at Suburban Propane, also expressed that it is worthwhile to recruit young employees – even if they lack experience – and work to train them.

“We have to start developing the younger generation with less experience, focus on training them and encourage personal growth,” Lapierre says.

Create an electronic classroom for CETP training

Younger generations’ fluency in technology coupled with a desire to grow within their companies means they will likely take to technology-based training more than previous generations.

Tom Clark, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Propane Association, detailed how an instructor can conduct Certified Employee Training Program (CETP) training using iPads or tablets.

To demonstrate, Clark brought iPads for attendees to use while he walked them through his training methods. He offered the following tips for those interested in iPad-based training:

1. Set up a master iPad. First, create an Apple ID dedicated to CETP training. Then, use that login info to sign on to what will be the “master iPad.”

When an instructor uses that Apple ID to sign in on the students’ iPads, the students will have access to everything the instructor installs on the master iPad.

2. Place photos and videos related to propane safety into the Photos app for trainees. Using the master iPad, add photos and videos of safety-related incidents, such as bobtail rollovers, onto the Photos app. Because the instructor is using the master iPad, those photos will also appear on each trainee’s iPad, and they can scroll through them during the classes.

3. Implement restrictions and controls. Through each iPad’s settings, an instructor can disable the camera and designate which websites students are allowed to access. All other sites can be blocked to limit distractions for trainees.

4. Add learning materials. Clark uses the Books app on iPads to add learning materials onto each iPad. Trainees can access the materials at any point when using the iPad.

5. Conduct assessments. Students can take their CETP assessments directly on the iPad, where they will receive their scores automatically upon completion. Clark, however, encourages logging each student’s score by hand to have as backup in the case of a technological “glitch.”

As the current work landscape shifts, propane companies and instructors must adapt, as well, and technology-based training can help to both attract employees and ensure they meet the industry’s safety standards.

About the Author:

Carly Bemer (McFadden) was the managing editor at LP Gas magazine.

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