In a report conducted by CSE (Consulting-Specifying Engineer) Magazine, engineering leaders with experience in attracting and developing new talent share insights about different training programs (including RedVector training), as well as formal and informal mentoring programs for new talent.
Read more from Douglas Lacy of WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff Co. and David Harris of Stanley Consultants about how they’ve improved professional development for their young engineers while increasing their value to the company.
CSE: What training programs does your firm have for younger staff and new hires?
Lacy: “WSP + ccrd uses a combination of online training and webinars through our corporate intranet and one-on-one mentoring to train new hires. Depending on the candidate’s educational background, additional external training resources (both online and seminars/classes) may also be used. We augment online training by hosting in-house monthly technical roundtables and presentations that involve both younger and more experienced staff. Topics are wide-ranging and include a healthy dose of Q&A and lessons-learned forums.”
CSE: If your firm has a training program, what tools do you use?
Lacy: “As part of the WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff family, we have access to a wide variety of online content in our online university and learning portal. In addition, staff may elect to participate in a shared learning program hosted by third-party vendors, such as RedVector, for additional training that may not be available internally. Much of the day-to-day training still occurs in a one-on-one setting, which continues the engineering profession’s long tradition of a mentor-mentee relationship to help advance our EITs to become professional engineers. Gaining valuable knowledge in a real-world project setting with the guidance of experienced professionals is the best way to transfer situational decision-making skills.”
Harris: “Because everyone learns differently, we offer a wide range of tools within Stanley Consultants University. Online training courses are available through SkillSoft, RedVector, and HR Classroom. Seminars are offered onsite, offsite, and online. Through an informal mentoring program, our employees receive on-the-job training, working alongside seasoned engineers on projects.”
CSE: What areas are you finding that young professionals and recent hires could use help with training and development?
Harris: “In general, I see two areas where they could use further development. Our young professionals come to us very well-grounded in the technical fundamentals. What they often lack is first-hand experience putting these fundamentals into practice in a real-world environment. As soon as possible, we assign our new engineers to project teams so they can see the real-world application of what they learned in college. They are also often lacking in the communication skills needed in a professional environment. Internship experience is very beneficial in both of these areas.”
Learn more about RedVector’s Professional Development Online Training Library for career development.