18 September 2020

Sony UK Technology Centre delivers innovative training to team players during Covid-19 pandemic

Wales’s leading manufacturer Sony UK Technology Centre (UK TEC) has successfully undertaken its own “innovative” technical training courses, helping to inspire and educate team players online during lockdown.

With over 100 people signing up to take part, Sony UK TEC’s workshops, cleverly named TEC Talks, have enabled the Pencoed-based engineers, technicians and others who wish to develop their knowledge to deliver and receive training internally throughout lockdown.

Sony UK TEC has a long history of ensuring team players receive the training they need to develop within their careers. In order to ensure they could continue to enhance their skills and broaden their knowledge during the pandemic, the Welsh manufacturing giant has adapted its training methods to provide virtual and online training to team players.

Technical Training Coordinator, Frank Sijm, explained that it was “incredibly important” that team players kept learning and training during lockdown.

He said: “The training and development of our team players is extremely important to us as a business, and is vital in exploring how we can change, adapt, and advance in our respective fields.

“All of this feeds into the company, as well as helping our team players grow. It is important for our team players to be knowledgeable about all areas of the business, and TEC Talks helps take focus from what you are doing day-to-day and to look at the bigger picture. TEC Talks also encourages curiosity from our team players, which is important in staying at the forefront of innovation.”

The workshops began to enable the facility’s highly skilled engineers to learn more about other areas of the department, and what projects were being undertaken. They offered team players a chance to share their own knowledge and skill, and enable staff to find out about other projects they may be interested in.

The TEC Talks are the first step in providing information on topics team players are not exposed to on a day-to-day basis, but a single TEC Talk can encourage those who wish to learn more about certain areas to attend more in-depth training sessions in the future.

Mr Sijm said: “All TEC Talks are voluntary. So, we asked people if they have a technical subject that they want to talk about, and they think will benefit other members. We then help them with their setup and presentation and also do a trial before they go live.”

He also discussed how doing the TEC Talks virtually actually increased their options, rather than limiting them.

“We’re able to open it up to a wider audience, as Microsoft Teams meetings don’t have a limit on the number of people who can join, so we’ve seen even more people taking part than when we held them face to face,” he said.

“We’ve covered topics such as automation from a mechanical and software standpoint, Network basics and Sony UK TEC’s factory of the future with around 100 people taking part in these online sessions. We’ve received really positive feedback with 100% of people asked agreeing they would take part again. Overall, I think it’s been highly successful.”

The Pencoed team has encouraged team players at all levels to deliver technical workshops on topics they are knowledgeable about. Apprentices, graduates, and more senior engineers have all taken part in leading discussions, including 24-year-old Engineering Graduate Zaid Ayoub.

Zaid delivered a talk during lockdown on the implementation of IIOT within the facility. Reflecting on his experience he said: “The main aim of TEC Talks is to share knowledge and experiences that may benefit other team players and departments within the business.

“From taking part in workshops that my colleagues have delivered I have gained knowledge and learned good practice in a variety of areas – we’ve all learnt a lot from each other.

“I wanted to learn more about subjects that I occasionally touch on in my day to day work but didn’t really understand and I’ve definitely achieved that. I think the TEC Talks have been a huge success and have worked really well through the pandemic. I think this is something that can continue to be successful in the future at Sony UK TEC.”

Sony UK TEC has seen the level of knowledge and understanding increase throughout the facility due to the rise of these new TEC Talks sessions. The positive feedback will ensure that these workshops continue even beyond the pandemic, encouraging innovation, development and cross-training throughout the facility.

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