On the second day of the 2015 Fuel Ethanol Workshop and Expo (FEW) in Minneapolis, Novozymes Training Specialist Rachel Burton presented “Next Generation Training for Ethanol Plants” to a room filled with members of the ethanol industry.

“The bioenergy industry has a vast amount of information, between data points, process parameters, and opportunities for optimization,” said Burton before her presentation. “The problem is that we have a diverse workforce consisting of different learning styles and demographic; identifying the best training program and the time to implement it is difficult. Training is an investment in time and money. Make sure you do it with intention.”

Burton began her talk on next generation training by summarizing the current generation.

“In terms of education level, almost 40% of our industry does not have a four-year [college] degree,” said Burton. “If you look at the years people have worked in the industry, most of the people have been here for a long time. What happens when they retire or leave?”

In addition to varying demographics in the industry, Burton urged attendees to consider learning styles, asking the question “How do you learn best, and how does that differ from how your team learns best?”

With differing education levels, age groups, and learning styles, an inevitable concern is the cost—time and money—of instituting such an involved learning program. Burton responded by probing or suggesting that the audience to weigh the impact a well-trained team has on the profitability of their ethanol plants.

“We know the benefits of a well-trained team provide more efficient operations, motivated and satisfied employees, flexibility of the workforce, and the opportunity for a strong knowledge exchange,” said Burton. “But, how do you get there, how you craft that training program?”

Burton continued by communicating a structured training program that Novozymes employs and the benefits the company experiences in terms of retaining employees and improving satisfaction.

“We know from our own experience that having a plan can make an impact on engagement, retention, and teambuilding,” said Burton. “Our employees gained a stronger career path and had a better feedback culture overall.”

Burton finalized her presentation by detailing two tools Novozymes has developed for the ethanol industry: Specifically, Bioenergy University and the Ethanol Challenge. Bioenergy University is a new knowledge and training portal accessible online consisting of webinars, videos, and other content. Novozymes will launch this platform later this summer. Ethanol Challenge is a mobile application that employs gamification in a fun, interactive manner to teach operators about ethanol production.

“[Novozymes] has created the Bioenergy University as a training platform for all learners and all learning styles,” finished Burton. “And, we think that Bioenergy University is a training platform that is truly going to fuel your business.”

Watch Burton’s full presentation, and be sure to subscribe to Think Bioenergy to be notified when the aforementioned tools become available.

Evan V.

I'm a Social Media Specialist for Novozymes currently managing the Bioenergy team's social media presence. I like digital marketing, dark roast coffee, and disc golf.