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Unlocking potential

Career opportunities in crane servicing are becoming increasingly attractive for younger generations. To address the declining numbers of skilled mechanics in this field, Manitowoc is actively involved in training over 1500 future service technicians at its centers worldwide every year.

As with many of the traditionally hands-on industries in the modern era, it’s no secret that the crane business is facing challenges in securing skilled labor. In virtually every region of the world, demand for crane technicians far exceeds the supply — a problem that may continue or even worsen as a significant portion of the workforce continues to edge closer to retirement age.

Conveniently, crane servicing has evolved into a career that is more closely aligned to the skills and strengths of a younger demographic than ever before. Josh Garrington, who has spent all of his 18 years in the crane industry at Manitowoc, working in a variety of roles within the Product Support and engineering Lift Solutions teams before becoming Global Training Manager for Mobile Cranes, explains why:

“The role of a technician has rapidly changed over the past decade or so as computer systems have become increasingly prominent in cranes. Today’s technicians must be as comfortable with a laptop as they are with a torque wrench — along with mechanical aptitude, they must also be able to utilize advanced technology systems. However, the most important attribute that a crane technician must have is a desire to solve problems. Our training program can teach how a crane works, but the technician must have the desire to learn and apply that knowledge.”

Josh Garrington
Josh Garrington

A world of opportunities

If a candidate displays that desire, there is nowhere better to develop it than in one of the six technical training facilities for the Grove, Manitowoc, and National Crane product lines distributed across five countries on four continents. But regardless of whether each year’s crop of over 1500 students attend courses in the U.S. at Shady Grove, Pa. or Manitowoc, Wis., Wilhelmshaven in Germany, São Paulo in Brazil, Monterrey in Mexico, or Dubai, UAE, the exact same high standard of training applies, effectively providing a qualification for worldwide work opportunities.

“As a global organization, we pride ourselves on ensuring the overall quality of the training,” Garrington explains. “For example, a technician who takes a GMK class at their local training center in Dubai has access to the same standard curriculum and level of training as offered at the factory in Germany.”

Alternatively, one of Manitowoc’s 18 technical trainers can host sessions at a customer’s facility, job site, or nearest Manitowoc facility, precisely tailoring each course to meet specific needs. But wherever they take place, the emphasis of each of the 50+ week-long training courses that cover different product lines and control systems is firmly on practice, rather than theory. “We firmly believe that the best way to learn is by doing,” clarifies Garrington. “Our core classes are all offered in person so we can support classroom learning with hands-on activities on one of our test benches, simulators, or an actual crane.”

To supplement those in-person activities, over 130 e-learning modules are also available via the online Technical Learning Center. Under 30 minutes long, these self-paced activities serve to reinforce critical topics covered in the instructor-led classes.

Those same instructors are also responsible for providing online instruction in common maintenance processes and sharing basic knowledge of features with the broader public in the form of the popular Garage Videos series on Manitowoc’s YouTube page.

“I find it very rewarding to actively participate in raising awareness of the crane industry with future potential technicians, whether they are in vocational school or secondary school,” Garrington concludes. “It is also a privilege to lead a team of supremely talented and passionate technical trainers, supporting them as our curriculum and training offerings are continuously updated. This allows us to evolve with Manitowoc’s changing product offerings as well as the changing needs of our customers and the modern labor market.”


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