Continuing Education Helps Drillers Stay Competitive
|Preparing to share what you know with others is a great way to brush up on your own skills and expertise. Source: iStock|
Fast forward a few years and when we needed to calculate the amount of gravel pack required for 100 feet of 6-inch diameter screen in a 12-inch diameter hole, that geometry/math stuff suddenly seemed kind of important. As it turns out, we really do use some of the things our teachers were trying to make us learn.
Now that we are in the prime of our careers, do we still need to learn things? You bet we do, for a variety of reasons.
Many states require continuing education units (CEUs) to maintain a driller’s license. In some cases these CEUs are offered in conjunction with the local or state drillers/groundwater association’s annual meeting.
I know that some of us dread the thought of a day or so sitting in a classroom because we “have to.” However, we should attend the classes with an open mind. I have personally benefited from classes on variable frequency drive motors for submersible pumps. I guess it does show that you can teach an old dog a new trick.
When you go to your CEU class don’t forget that education is not just attending the training. If vendors have booths, go and talk to them about their latest offering. Some may irritate you with the “hard sell.” If they do, walk away and go speak with someone who can help you learn something new.
Where else can we learn things or become better educated? As I have discussed in a previous column, give a presentation at your local association. Better yet, be one of the people to teach a CEU class. I guarantee you will educate yourself in the process of developing your talk and preparing for the questions that will be asked. If you really wish to push the boundaries, offer to teach a class at a local college or trade school. Preparing for a formal classroom setting is a great way to learn new information or polish up on a topic you are familiar with. Many colleges/schools are looking for “visiting teachers” with real world experience to instruct their classes. You may find that it’s very rewarding to share your knowledge with the younger generation.
The classroom is not the only place to be educated. How about learning in the comfort of your own home! There are multitudes of ways to increase your knowledge through “distance learning.” What the heck is distance learning? Oxforddictionaries.com defines distance learning as “a method of studying in which lectures are broadcast or classes are conducted by correspondence or over the Internet, without the student’s needing to attend a school or college.” You think, school or college? Heck, I’m just a dang driller, I don’t need any college classes. Keep in mind that colleges are not the only organizations that provide distance learning. Many of us are members of the National Ground Water Association (NGWA). Did you know the NGWA offers online education? And some of it is free to members. Would knowing how to help reduce iron and manganese in a well be helpful? Two of the NGWA’s upcoming free (to members) classes are entitled “Reducing Problematic Concentrations of Iron and Manganese in Residential Water Well Systems” and “Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel Fuel and How to Prevent Equipment Failure.” Look around while you are on the Internet searching for football scores; I bet you could find other online classes that would be helpful.
Finally, keep in mind that you don’t have to learn in a classroom setting or in front of your computer. You can read a book or trade magazine; take some time and just sit down and read. This is the ultimate way to learn at your own pace. I’m not talking about reading “War and Peace,” but looking for articles that help in all facets of our business. It doesn’t have to be a dry technical article about mud velocities or hydraulics cooling systems. If you are a family business brush up on estate or tax planning.
There are many ways and reasons for a driller to increase his knowledge base. We can learn in a classroom, via the Internet or just from reading an article in a technical publication. We can educate ourselves and others by teaching a class in a formal or informal setting. In order to grow and not fall behind our competition, education is vitally important. Who knows? Maybe you can even have a little fun during the process.
David S. Bardsley is business development manager for Directed Technologies Drilling. For more Bardsley columns, visit www.nationaldriller.com/bardsley.