PE puts the questions to Hager’s Technical Training Managers, Paul Chaffers and Paul Collins, as we discuss all things training.
Engaging in regular training is an essential aspect of the development of careers, conducting high quality work, and enhancing business growth within the electrical industry. Hager is leading the way – determined to provide insightful information, advice and support from industry experts, and proud to offer a wide range of training programmes, both online and in-person.
The brand’s Technical Training Managers, Paul Chaffers and Paul Collins, are both figureheads within the industry, boasting over 70 years of collective experience. Between them they develop and deliver various training programmes, present seminars and webinars, and support Further Education colleges with wiring regulations and Inspection & Testing courses.
Thanks to their extensive knowledge and unwavering commitment to the industry, they’re also both BEAMA representatives. They’re passionate about striving for – and maintaining – a safe, innovative and compliant industry.
Here we chat to them both about why a keen focus on training is vital for business, and they share their motivations behind their latest educational offering: Hager Academy Online.
Q. Paul Chaffers, you’re well-known to the industry but relatively new to your role with Hager – how have you been settling in and what have you been tasked with doing?
It’s been great, I’ve very much enjoyed becoming part of the team at Hager – they’ve all made me feel very welcome. Although it’s a new role for me in-house, I’ve actually been working alongside Paul Collins for over a decade – delivering seminars at major trade events, catching up at BEAMA conferences, and taking part in expert panels. Now, both part of the Hager technical team, we’re able to more easily collaborate on projects, utilising our combined experience to provide value for industry professionals.
So far, my main focus has been on writing new training material for our newly-launched Hager Academy Online – a free learning platform for Hager product training and CPD-accredited courses. Plus, we’ve also been revamping the in-person training held at our Telford headquarters, which has seen us create a whole host of new content in line with the latest regulations.
Q. Why is it important for electrical professionals to have in-depth training and expertise to call on when it comes to their day-to-day work and personal development?
CHAFFERS: Simply put, the regulations are constantly changing and so regular training is essential to ensure you remain up-to-date, safe and compliant.
COLLINS: Also, the innovation of renewable energy and EV charging means that there’s more information to be shared, discussed and understood. These topics often require extra care and attention when designing and selecting the correct choice of circuit protection.
So, as experts in this field, we help to bridge the gap between what’s covered in standard training courses and the finer details of the modern manufacturing world. Armed with this valuable information, professionals can stay ahead of the game and ensure they continually offer safe and compliant installations.
Q. Hager has recently announced the launch of an online learning platform – tell us more about the inspiration behind this and how it works.
COLLINS: Yes, the launch of Hager Academy Online is really exciting. It’s a natural extension and evolution of the face-to-face training that we already offer. Providing this knowledge on an online platform means it’s accessible from anywhere, at any time, and in different formats to suit every learner.
CHAFFERS: Essentially, there’s two aspects to the training. Firstly, we offer product-specific support for customers wanting to better understand device functionality and product codes – this is mainly designed for wholesalers.
For electricians and electrical designers, there’s a range of technical courses, curated to cover different areas of the wiring regulations and provide technical solutions. These are all CPD-accredited and upon successful completion an industry-recognised certificate is issued.
Q. You’ve mentioned that this is an evolution from your in-person training, can you tell us more about the other types of training options?
CHAFFERS: For those who want to sit a formal qualification, we’re proud to partner with some of the best training providers in the UK, which allow us to host these courses at our Hager Academy. Plus, we also have several in-person CPD training courses available too.
The training sessions are typically conducted over the course of a week. Throughout this time, learners receive theory sessions and practical demonstrations from industry experts, as well as a look behind-the-scenes. These include gaining extra tips, tools and tactics from multiple members of the Hager team, a full tour of our factory, and a visit to the laboratory.
Q. What areas of training and education have you noticed are proving most popular when it comes to interest from electrical professionals?
COLLINS: Renewable energy and EV charging are at the forefront of the industry right now – with battery storage and solar PV courses our most in-demand currently. Rightly so, installers are seeking advice and guidance into the latest advancements and the newest products within this arena.
CHAFFERS: It’s also exciting to be a part of this movement. It’s a pleasure to work alongside our national community of electricians, contractors and installers, together driving forward these innovative projects and products within the industry. The training sessions allow for great conversations, exciting collaborations, and a chance to stay ahead of the game when it comes to an exciting new world.
Q. How do you both keep on top of the changes that are going on in the industry so that you’re able to confidently and accurately deliver material to others?
CHAFFERS: Being part of technical committees, such as BEAMA, involves lots of reading which keeps me notified of any changes. Also, meeting, engaging and learning from other experts is immensely helpful – and also provides alternative perspectives and opinions.
COLLINS: Authoring articles, writing webinars and participating in panel discussions requires extensive research and learning. Due to this, huge parts of our roles include delving into and dissecting the latest trends, products and legislation. Also, Hager boasts a wealth of knowledge through its technical experts worldwide who are always on hand to provide support and insights.
Q. We regularly see you – and the Hager team – at trade show events up and down the country. What’s the value of delivering training and being present at those types of events?
COLLINS: We enjoy connecting and collaborating with our customers face-to-face. Not only do such events allow us to demonstrate our latest products or share the latest technical solutions, but they also gift us the opportunity to gain feedback from the industry. Being able to have these open, honest and candid conversations ensures we’re servicing our customers exactly as they need.
Q. How does Hager plan to expand and improve its training offering this year? Will there be new courses?
CHAFFERS: Our in-person and online training is constantly evolving. Regulations regularly change meaning we have to alter sessions, new products are launched resulting in additional courses being created, and the industry is constantly advancing, so there’s a huge scope for growth.
COLLINS: To begin with, we’re offering mainly residential subjects, but throughout the course of the year, we’re looking to expand this to cover commercial and industrial topics too. Watch this space…
Get more Hager Training course dates and registration details here