Keynetix Sponsors Staff through The Geotechnical Academy
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Keynetix have sponsored 4 members of staff through The Geotechnical Academy and are planning on sponsoring 2 more at the next intake. The course provides real life geotechnical knowledge and skills and helps our support and consultancy staff better understand the requirements of our industry and customers.
Providing training for our staff is vital. In the past we have done a number of lunchtime presentations covering several aspects of lab testing and site investigation.
Roger Chandler, our Managing Director, is one of the lecturers at The Geotechnical Academy, but when we got the opportunity to join as delegates it was an ideal opportunity for us to help the moving forwards of the development of our products, services and staff.
As you will see from Phil Child’s own personal take on the course, this is proving very beneficial and he would highly recommend it to others.
“The sessions take the form of a lecture with questions as they come up from the floor. It’s generally time to don a suitable amount of PPI and set off for something practical. This might take the form of a focused tour around a lab, getting the perspective of drillers in the yard, a visit to a local landslip (in our case, a stroll around the Forest of Dean – nice!) or similar.
The quality of teaching has been exceptional. What you get in Pete is not just an academic approach but the kind of perspective which only really comes from years of experience and a passion for the subject. While I can’t retain everything, there have certainly been several epiphany moments, the digital text in an AGS file taking on a new significance when you experience the analogue counterpart it represents.
At times I have been humbled. Like many in the industry, I have been guilty in the past of making drillers the brunt of jokes. Having spoken to those who drive some of Geotechnical Engineer’s wireline rotary core units I’ve had to reassess this very unfair view. With the skill, judgement, commitment and experience to be effective I found myself comparing them to the pilot of a commercial airline – they bear a great deal of responsibility with so much to monitor and control, dictated by skill, but informed by intuition.
Listening to the ALcontrol case study of a contaminated site in Congo I found myself to be not only informed, but also rather moved. For all the flaws and frustrations this industry might bear, it was a reminder that in the end it is still – dare I say it – actually a rather noble one. Much overlooked and misunderstood the ground specialist might be, but society as a whole is undoubtedly improved as a result. The Congo case study – really as much an example of a lack of the resources to remediate – made me realise this anew. It left me reflecting on the human cost of their absence and with the nagging sense that somehow we, as individuals if not organisations, must be able to do more. Honestly, I don’t think that was the intended response but I think that if more seminars we attend in the industry caused this kind of emotional response it could only be a good thing.
One of the real plusses of the format is the team spirit you develop with your peers. At the first module you are a collection of strangers gathered awkwardly in a room; now they are folk I have come to admire and respect. I want them to do well and all have something different to offer. There are several geotechnical engineers but also an environmental specialist, a structural engineer and, of course, a couple of folk from Keynetix. I’m sure I’m not alone in finding there have been times when I’ve felt dumber than a bag of wet mice and yet there have also been times when I have been on my subject – enthusing and informing, bringing something unique to the group. This is perhaps the strength – the knowledge of the whole is always much more than the knowledge of any one individual, a truth effectively realised when there is a place for everyone.
So I would – and indeed already have – recommended to anyone in the industry. It strikes me as a particularly viable way of smaller organisations ensuring graduates are sufficiently equipped for a life in the field (or at least in an office for the consultants!) rather than a life in a lecture theatre. I know that I have benefitted from the academy – and will be rather sad to see it come to an end – and am sure many others will too”. Written by Phil Child, Senior Consultant, Keynetix.
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