I need to start this topic for every now and then my company, Ivory Properties Group would accept new trainees from all colleges and universities as it is mandatory under their University to be trained under actual field or office work.
When they arrived at the site , I would be be asking the usual questions. What are you majoring in and is this your first or final year in the College or University?. After that what subjects have you been studying and "blah" "blah" all the way. From the normal conversation, I started to understand the subjects content of what they have been taught and the final question was how long is your training with us. Some mentioned 6 months and some only 3 months. Oh, what should I teach them in this short period or What Stuff They Do Not Learn in Engineering School? I always remember what my Eldest Brother told me before even after he has graduated from MIT,USA (Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management ,( being humble) I am still very fresh on the road and I will need to know a lot of things in this world. At this time, I was about to finish my external exam paper in UM ( University Malaysia) and about to go out into the world to work. After hearing what he has spoken, one thing flash across my brain, "Se liao,Wa Im Chai Oh Kao Boh Kao". ( I am death, have I learn enough to go out in the world to work?). Remembering what an old and very experience backhoe operator told before, do not need to worry and let face this world one thing at a time, as it come along .
Before leaving my room, I have to assign them to Captain,( Our safety manager ) who will brief them on Safety at Site as required by DOSH (Department of Occupational Safety and Health). After that I went straight over to Mr Ong, our Assistance Site Manager, for his opinion as to whom this trainee should be working under. When everything was in order, I went back to my table and start to read the notes that was left by the trainees.
I started to plan in order to train them correctly. Sometime I do not have so much choice that is to allocate them under the groups that will help them to refresh what they been studying but to send them into any section that would require extra helper.
Anyway, This was what I have planned for them.
1. Surveying work. This is basic of everything in construction.Levelling and Total station work.
2. Type of Drawings. How to relate all drawings from every sections .
Architectural, Structural, Mechanical and Electrical, Plumbing and any outsource drawings like Lift and LPG.
3. Actual construction work from Substructure ( pile caps and column stump and Superstructure Works ( Individual floors slab till typical floor slab construction using the system formwork).
4. Lab test (Mix concrete design from our concrete supplier) and and some soil test (CBR) lab in case they are in hill slope construction
5. Structural Design (Under Ir Chow). In case ,they are studying Civil or Structural Engineering. Sometime the trainee,who is not studying this course would ask my permission to be undergo this module and I normal agreed provide IR Chow agreed
6.And last to be under the Technical Department to learn Autocad Drafting. They are very lucky for the Trainers are normally Architect from Unversity.Why do they require this training? Well, after looking at all the drawings, I realise that a lot of drawings are not properly set in layers and basic compulsory commands are not highlighted in their course and the reason for do this and that. I have personally attended this class and found out why a lot of drafter made dangerous mistake that will affect the constructor.
7. Communication. The most important of the whole training is to speak,write and listening.
By the end of their training, I hope when they would be succeed in getting a good job after they have graduated. Recently, I met a trainee and he thanked me for the training for he has got a job. He told me that the interviewer asked from A to Z, Goodness Me , and he got through with flying colour. After leaving him I thought to myself that this trainee asked many questions when in doubt and that matter the most.
What are the stuff that they do not learn in School
Recently I overheard some people talking during the lunch break.
A to B: I report for work today and they are all calling me Mr. Engineer
B to A: You are very lucky for the company that I work do not border at all whether you are Engineer or not.
C to B: That is okay for we know nothing and only theories. My new company staff ask me to learn one thing at a time and ask if I do not know. Be hard working are their golden advice.
D to A: You are now in the "Real World" and there are a lot more that you all have to learn from now onwards.
I overheard that the next topic was on Salary but I left immediately for my break time was almost up.
The Real World.
Everyone of us are leaving in a cocoon for we are protected most of the time even when we are going through University. Once we are in the real world, "Jiang Wu", there are many questions and the most important is to realise that you have no control over the real world but have to control our behaviour and actions in dealing with the real world out there.
So have the college prepare you for the real world? Definition NO. I always remember what my mum would mention each time when she pray to Lord Buddha, Please let my son meet a lot of "Kwee Zin" (Good and helpful guidance) when working outside in the real world. The real world is not neat. First you have to know that you have to have initiative and do not wait to be shovel with answer. There are time when things just pop up and affect what you are trying to accomplish. Nevertheless you still have to get on and finish your assigned job and the worse is to complete on time. The final answer to everything is "Just Do It" as like a slogan under Nike.
Speak, Listening and Writing
After going through with all the trainees, I realise that most of them in one way or another lack in this topic for most of them are quite poor in communication. Are they taught in nontechnical skill when in University? As many of my friend told me, there is a big different between an Engineer graduated in USA and Britain. and when I asked him why, the answer is the American students have to study Liber Arts and this is not so in other countries.
Anyway, all trainees were asked to speak in English regardless of their race so as to prepare them for better communication.
Most of their reports that they will be submitting will be in English. Hence they have to write in advance all their daily activities. The best way to improve English is to read more. Then when writing use simple, clear and direct language. The computer revolution has assist us with the spell check and that eliminates grammar mistake ,spelling and a lot more. Finally ask peer to go through what you have written and correct all the mistakes.You may feel uncomfortable asking but should not .
When I was a student, I made a lot of grammatical mistakes and even today. I once remembered that I have helped my parent to write a letter to my eldest brother in the United States and when the replied mail came back, I saw my brother correcting all the mistakes I have made with a red ink. I started to improve from that day onwards. In this family of us, all of my brothers and sisters are teachers other than my Eldest brother and I are having a different career. Sin Seh Ka Liao (All teachers) in the family.Other than this, my elder brother will be called upon by my English teacher to explain why my English was so bad. Maybe I did not read the English cartoon story books like Superman , The Green Lantern, Spiderman and so .......
The first rule of speaking is to know the subject that you are going to talk. Secondly, you must know who your audience and what they expect to hear . The most important is not to be shy but just ask peers beside you to correct your mistakes.I remember once when I have to pick up my son from Primary school and immediately when he approached me at the Chinese school gate, he started to speak to me in English. Just then a friend of his who was passing by and was shocked to hear our English conversation. He quickly asked my son this questions. Xing Yi ,you speak to your father in English ? and my son answered yes. We speak English at home all the time.
For most of us, listening to other when they talk is the most difficult thing to do. Why? Sometime you could be listening to what the other person is talking but are you actually listening to what they are saying? Most of the time, our brain are constantly multitasking and for this reason , we will not absorbing hundred percentage of what are spoken. There are many way to improve our listening skills. First try to reduce any distraction and pay attention to what the person is saying and also their feelings, ideas and overall intent. Second,make sure you reassure the other person you are understnading what they are saying by responding with a nod or if you do not than don't hesitate to ask. The most important is do not interrupt while he is talking or complete the sentence for him for this is very annoying and frustrating to him