Becoming a Manufacturing Triple Threat

Becoming a Manufacturing Triple Threat

July 24, 2020

In theatre, being a Triple Threat means that you can sing, dance, and act—that you have all the skills necessary to take on any role and succeed at it.  This term can be applied to manufacturing, as well, and refer to someone who has skills in multiple disciplines, able to take on work in many departments. 

As employers continue to introduce more complex machines and technology, and positions become less defined, being trained in one area may not be sufficient to excel at your job.  Employers are noticing a skills gap in workers, and are looking for technicians with a broader knowledge base.  By becoming a Manufacturing Triple Threat, you will be able to bridge these skills gaps and become a more invaluable employee… all while building your own value and confidence. 

two men wearing hard hats look at a white paper together

Setting the Scene for Cross-Training

This skills gap is where cross-training in multiple disciplines will be invaluable. With a varied skill set, you will be prepared to bridge this gap and be a more competitive candidate.  Here are some ways that broadening your skill-sets will benefit you.

1. Job Mobility

If you are cross-trained in multiple disciplines, this not only makes you more employable, but will allow you greater potential for job mobility—whether this means a promotion, a move to a different department, or starting a position at a new company.  If you are interested in management positions, this can be extremely beneficial. As you gain skills, are exposed to different job functions, and learn more about the different facets of your business, you will be able to see the “bigger picture”… and this is a viewpoint that is necessary for management to have. 

2. Increased Collaboration

As you diversify your knowledge and skills, you will be able to converse, work, and share ideas with your colleagues in different disciplines.  If you, as an electronics technician, have an idea about how to program robotics or troubleshoot PLC’s,  you will be able to discuss this in detail with your colleagues who work in these areas.  You will also be more able to understand your colleagues’ jobs, and get a better grasp of what their work entails.  If it is taking them longer to complete a difficult task, for example, you will have a better understanding of why this task is so difficult and time-consuming, and more empathy for your colleagues. 

3. Personal Development

Not only will diversified skills help you understand others’ positions better—it could give you the chance to try on different “hats” and work in different departments.  You could find that you have a hidden skill or passion for another area, and would like to transfer your focus to that more permanently.  You will also gain a sense of personal achievement as you increase your skills and become more knowledgeable—you put in a lot of work to gain these skills, after all!

There are a number of ways that cross-training can benefit you and propel your career forward.  Check out this blog for a more in-depth look at why you should train in multi-disciplinary areas, and how GBCTechTraining can help you achieve this. 

Becoming a Triple Threat

While it may seem simple to start cross-training and preparing yourself to become a triple threat, there are some strategies that can help you maximize the value of your training, and ensure that your new skills are not overlooked. 

1. Become a “T-Shaped” Employee

Becoming a “t-shaped employee” means that you are building your skills in the shape of a T:  you are a specialist in one area, but knowledgeable in others.  With this approach, while you have skills in many areas, you will remain specialized in one, and will not be seen as a generalist. For example, if you love Robotics, you should continue to focus most of your energy there.  However, you could increase your knowledge of PLC’s or Electronics so that you can apply these skills across your tasks.  With this formation of your skillsets, you will be able to consult on multiple projects, give advice, and build your value with your employer. 

2. Don’t Keep it Quiet

While you should by no means mention your new skills in every conversation, be sure to let it be known that you have undertaken additional training.  Do not sell yourself short, you have worked hard for these skills, and they are valuable!  You should tell your employers and colleagues about your knowledge in other areas, so they know to utilize your new skills.  This will open the floor for your colleagues to bounce ideas off of you, collaborate with you, and your employers will consider you when they are looking to fill a special, multi-disciplinary position. 

3. Speak to your Employer

You shouldn’t wait until you have taken your training to speak to your employer about it, either.  Approach them and let them know you are considering increasing your knowledge and learning about a new area.  This will tell them you are motivated, dedicated to learning, invested in yourself and your personal growth as well as their business.  Many companies want to invest in their current employees, and there is the possibility they will pay for your education if you enroll in additional courses … it costs them less to train you than to hire someone new, after all, so they too will benefit from your cross-training.  Even better, when you have completed your education they will know that you have furthered your skills, and you will be front-of-mind when a cross-disciplinary position comes up. 

4. Seek out Opportunities

Don’t wait to be approached with the opportunity to upgrade and diversify your skills—seek them out for yourself!  Look into online programs, workshops, or ask friends in other industries if they’d mind showing you the ropes.  Let your employers know you would like to broaden your skills, and ask them to consider you for opportunities to do so.  In the end, it will be even more rewarding knowing that you have been able to take additional training on, are actively bettering yourself… and that you got their on your own.

In the manufacturing industry, sometimes the skills needed to perform well will overlap between disciplines.  By becoming a Manufacturing Triple Threat, you will be a more-rounded, knowledgeable, and valuable technician.  An education in multiple systems could help to project your career, build your self-worth, or even steer you in an unforeseen and exciting new direction. 

GBCTechTraining programs are perfect for diversifying your skills, as you can cross-train in Robotics, PLC’s, Electronics, Electromechanics, and Automation. For more information, contact us at info@gbctechtraining.com, or call 1-888-553-5333 to speak with a Program Consultant.

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