Over time I have advocated for training for lift maintenance personnel, both veterans, and apprentices. It is very encouraging to see the efforts of a committee put together by the NSAA to advocate for training.
The intent of this committee is to initially put together a resource guide that can provide guidance to individuals and ski areas on how to move forward with the training of lift maintenance personnel. The following is a draft outline of the purpose of the resource guide (RG):
- The RG needs to be structured in such a way that lift maintenance personnel and their employers can clearly identify the knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience necessary for each category or level of maintenance technician identified and across the topic areas or domains used.
- This will, in turn, present a clear progression or career path for lift maintenance personnel.
- The RG will not describe how to do the job within each domain but will describe the knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience necessary to satisfy that particular element.
- The RG will identify the resources for lift maintenance personnel to gain the appropriate knowledge regarding the topic area, and considerations for how to develop and validate that skill.
- This guide is to support areas in structuring their lift maintenance training and not intended to replace or compete with existing lift maintenance training programs.
- The RG will provide examples of best practices in lift maintenance training programs and considerations for developing a program in an area. It will be up to individual areas to determine how best to structure their individual training programs, in-house or otherwise, to best fit their needs.
The intent of this committee and the dedication of those who are leading are very encouraging. Those such as Sid Roslund, and Earl Saline, both of NSAA and Michael Weise, volunteer extraordinaire, need a special thank you for doing the heavy lifting behind the scenes. There are many others but these three are the glue that will make this a success.
The important component which has to come from the likes of you is support for this project and ultimately the buy-in of ski area owners. The willingness of the C suite management, if you will, is critical. There needs to be a cultural shift to support the concept that lift mechanics are professionals with all the connotations that are associated with professional, training, expertise, career, and commensurate pay scales. Without this shift, this group of dedicated volunteers is really pushing uphill against a strong headwind.