Thursday, January 8, 2015

Why don’t snow professionals value training like other industries?

'Strategically, SIMA is working to shake the industry up and build a better, safer, and more efficient workforce.'

By Brian Birch, CAE
As SIMA has grown, we've built and launched many training events and products over the years. Recently we launched the Advanced Snow Management program, after literally years of project work and discussion.

The thing that has surprised me is that many snow professionals don’t necessarily value training in snow all that much.  Our surveys over the years clearly indicate that a great number of companies do very little formal training specific to snow each year.

The reasons for disinterest in training are many, and are not to be taken lightly; the cost of training is high, the challenge of keeping good employees is high, and often times the perception of the industry is low in general. And don’t get me wrong, there are many examples across North America of companies training well in snow and ice. But I do think that training and building key skills in the industry is something that can be strengthened over time. Strategically, SIMA is working to shake the industry up and build a better, safer, and more efficient workforce.

In late 2014, SIMA staff and a group of key volunteers known as the Stakeholder Advisory Group went through a strenuous process to apply for ANSI accreditation for all four Advanced Snow Management courses. After one full year of preparation, over 30 pages of documentation, $10,000+ in application fees and preparation expenses, 60+ documents, and countless hours, SIMA’s application was submitted in early December. Our application is under review until mid-January, and then the next step will be to have two ANSI auditors complete an in-person program audit.

So the question is; why did we invest so much time and effort into this process? The answer is quite simple; we are seeking to build the industry’s most powerful training verification program. We aim to set a new bar for professionals in the industry, one which empowers companies across North America to train key personnel to become safer, more efficient, and more skilled. We seek ANSI accreditation for our programs so that we can show those insurance and commercial facilities management folks that snow professionals mean business.

Snow professionals don’t value training as much as they should because they haven’t been given a good reason to do so – and you can help us change that. What action can you take to help? Here are a few thoughts:
  • Take a look at the Advanced Snow Management program and consider investing in a stronger, more powerful training program for your key managers.
  • Download the SIMA Best Practices Checklist and start checking items off the list.
  • Email and tell her what a great job she has done getting SIMA to this point in the ANSI application process, and tell her to keep pushing hard.
  • Email Jason Case, CSP, SIMA Board President, at and share your thoughts for training in the industry and how SIMA can help make training a game-changer for you.
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