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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Training in the solid wood manufacturing industry : a comparison between interior British Columbia, Alberta and New Zealand Campardo Tolnai, Jane


This study examines training in solid wood manufacturing companies in Interior British Columbia, Alberta and New Zealand and determines the success of implementation at the sawmill site level. Information obtained in this study will be used to determine the degree of the company's investment and commitment to training; to determine the types of training programs for management and staff; and to define desired skills set that are required by the company. Two mail surveys were developed for the study. The population for the corporate survey consisted of 17 solid wood manufacturing companies having two or more sawmills while the sample for the site survey consisted of 53 sawmill sites. The response rate was high where 64% and 51% of the sample responded to the corporate and site surveys, respectively, in the three regions. Topics in the survey included training policies, corporate and site budgets, training programs, skills requirements, and training culture. Results of this study show that a majority of companies had informal training policies, training decisions were largely decentralized, and sites were committed to increasing their training budget for the year 1999, where about three-quarters was allocated to specific training. In addition, the companies invested in their in-house trainers and direct supervisors to train their employees and widely used teamwork, on-the-job training, cross training, and retraining programs to expand their employees' skills. This was backed by their immense use of employee performance measures and productivity reports to evaluate training. Although almost all companies strongly viewed training as an investment and encouraged employees to develop new knowledge, they did not have long-term plans to identify their skills needs. Time constraints and financial resources were seen as a major barrier to training their employees. Overall, corporate respondents were not significantly different from site respondents with respect to their attitudes and behaviors towards training. Most sawmill respondents said that site operations improved in the last three years as a result of training. In an effort to improve training within the company, about half of the respondents said they needed to do more effective succession planning, better link training needs to overall business strategies and develop more results-oriented evaluation measures.

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