SIM, Human Asset
The analytical thought processes of the field technician is an important part of SIM. Field technician applicants prove puzzle-solving skills through rigorous interviewing and testing. The testing details the candidates’ ability to understand various puzzles.
This element of SIM greatly exceeds the industry standard by requiring a minimum of 8 weeks of training/mentorship.
The ASNT document ‘Recommended Practice SNT-TC-1A (2011)’ recommends 8 hours as a minimum for training and 60 hours practicing GPR in order to be a certified NDT Level I in Ground Penetrating Radar.
SIM requires 80 hours of classroom/hands-on training and 320 hours of mentoring in the field.
Pre-classroom mentorship: The SIM process requires a mentorship of the employee prior to classroom training. This upfront investment in time has benefits for the employee as well as the employer. This training is a four-week long process. Benefits:
• The employee is exposed to the tools and the field practices, thus confirming their choice to pursue the trade of locating utilities and scanning concrete.
- This time affords the employee the ability to place themselves in the role in the market they ultimately will service.
- The employee is also exposed to the working culture, responsibilities, and expectations. Each new field person will work with several mentors.
• The employer can expect:
- An employee that will have real-world application knowledge of the technologies they will be taught in the classroom. Thus, classroom work will be more effective.
- An employee that has already created social bonds with a peer group in their region.
This part of SIM fully immerses the field tech into the established standard operating procedures (SOP) applied to both concrete scanning and underground utility locating. The training also includes background theory for the technologies applied in the field. A critical component is the understanding of where the technologies will work well and where they will not. This training is two 40-hour weeks.
Topics of training:
- Maximizing equipment applications.
- GPR theory.
- EM theory and application.
- GPS point mapping.
- Site safety JHA forms.
- Site communication, pre-scan and post scan.
- Target mark out.
- Construction knowledge of all types of concrete slabs.
- Post tensioning structural layouts.
- GPR data interpretation for concrete slabs.
- GPR data interpretation for subsurface applications.
- Underground utility
Returning to the field after getting an understanding of the theory opens new doors for the field technician. Understanding why and how the data they collect is being impacted by subsurface interferences allows for better adjustments to the equipment. Each new field employee will remain in the mentorship phase of training until their confidence has been built. Their release into the field as an independent field tech only happens upon approvals from the Area Manager. This mentorship is a four week period.
This investment of time and money into the field technician plays a critical role in the success of SIM. Shortening this process opens the field technician up to potentially making mistakes. Much of each field technicians’ success relies in their own confidence level with the equipment and the data that is collected. If training is inadequate, the technician will struggle in the role.
In addition to ongoing safety training as well as technical training, the field technician will be subject to quality checks on their work. As an example, the Area Manager for GPRS is responsible for quality-checking field personnel per the SOP that has been taught through mentoring and in the classroom.