Delegates trialling the Association of Electrical and Mechanical Trades, AEMT Training Academy at recent beta testing sessions have highlighted the ease of use and positive experience as the Association moves towards a summer launch of its new platform.

The AEMT Training Academy is a project under development with funding from Innovate UK to support a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with the University of York. The two-year project began in 2022 and aims to transition the Association’s in-person training courses to a virtual learning and assessment environment where delegates can ‘handle’ virtual machinery and equipment.

The beta testing, which ran in January and March 2023, comes ahead of the planned launch of the first stage of the AEMT Training Academy by the summer of this year. The first stage will see the platform offer delegates an online version of the Association’s popular Ex Repair theory training course, drawing on over eight hours of video-based content backed up by interactive quizzes to track progress. The course, which covers basic concepts, the repair standard and identifying and recording data, has previously only been available in a classroom format, requiring the lecturers and delegates to travel significant distances at significant financial and environmental cost.

Thomas Marks, Secretary and General Manager of the Association, explained: “Our hazardous area, or Ex, courses are delivered across the globe, and historically we have delivered face-to-face training in 20 countries, to delegates from 40 countries, many of which have had to travel significant distances.

“A fundamental value of the AEMT is to support and drive sustainability – it’s what our members do, repairing and remanufacturing electromechanical equipment to extend its life. To be able to reduce the carbon footprint and increase the accessibility to this vital training is significant and something we are delighted we will be able to do.”

Commenting on the online course, Lee, a Beta tester of the platform said: “Although I was hesitant about doing an online course to start off, I enjoyed the content, and Karl was very helpful, which put me more at ease.

“If anyone else isn’t confident on a computer, you can tell them it wasn’t as daunting as I expected.”

Thomas continued: “Having delivered our training face-to-face for many years, we were aware that many delegates were wary of online training, and we factored that into how the virtual course was developed. In addition, we ensured that our lead lecturer, Karl Metcalfe, was available to answer questions when needed.”

Alongside the phase one launch, a new Associate from the University of York is joining the team developing the AEMT Academy to focus on developing the 3D virtual twin functionality, which will allow delegates to interact with the equipment they are learning about. This is the project’s ultimate aim and will enable the virtual assessment of the knowledge and techniques taught in the training.

Then, later this year, the AEMT plans to launch a rewind and repair course on the platform and integrate third-party training on topics including health and safety and leadership and management.

Thomas concluded: “Ultimately, our vision is to create a one-stop shop for all our members’ training needs, in an intuitive, accessible and innovative platform.”