The TWI techniques are suitable for training unskilled workers to competence on a single, straight forward task…or on a series of sequential tasks. The technique is the same.
In the 1980s I worked as a construction site manager installing precast concrete. The work was seasonal, with projects lasting anywhere from a few days to a few months. Many of the workers had never worked in construction before, and working for me (and/or my crew leaders) was often a ‘first job’ for young people.
A typical basic task for a brand new worker was shovelling gravel and loading it into wheelbarrows. I, or one of my crew leaders would take 5 to 10 minutes to train the worker on how to shovel gravel OUR WAY, then put the worker to work. We would:
- Ask the worker what kinds of work they had done in the past, and get to know them a little bit.
- Show the worker how to perform the task OUR WAY – breaking the task into sub tasks if possible or necessary.
- Explain to the worker why we wanted it done that way.
- Have the worker perform the task OUR WAY – correcting as necessary.
Then we would leave them to their work, but would keep an eye on them.
Although I had not heard of TWI at the time, I was using an approach very similar to the TWI training process:
Step 1 – Prepare the Worker
Step 2 – Present the Operation
Step 3 – Try Out Performance
Step 4 – Follow Up
Following this focused approach, new workers were making money for the company by morning coffee time on day one. By the end of a week, new workers would be trained on as many as twenty tasks – and were enjoying learning and being part of the team. THAT’s the TWI advantage!