BMA’s key role in the construction of Dhaka Sugar’s new refinery in Bangladesh is not limited to engineering, equipment and commissioning. We are also responsible for training the team who will be operating the 3,000 tpd plant. This started off in quite unusual circumstances – as a remote course.
The training course is divided into four blocks: basic principles and process, equipment and instrumentation, automation and operation, and, finally, more in-depth knowledge of equipment, automation and operation. The focus is on the individual process stations in a factory: handling raw and refined sugar, decolourisation, process materials, evaporation and heat economy, crystallisation, and centrifugation.
Because of the pandemic, the BMA Academy team were unable to fly out to Bangladesh to train operating staff on site at the factory. Instead, the training course was held online. This was a real challenge, as we had not had much experience with online training on such a large scale.
Some issues had to be resolved in advance: For how many hours per day can we schedule the online training without losing the participants’ attention? Do all participants have access to a laptop or PC? Is there a stable internet connection? How do we deal with the 5-hour time difference? And how can we check that participants have understood the training content?
Together with our customer Dhaka Sugar we decided to deliver training over a period of two weeks, on three days each week from 7 a.m. to 12 o’clock German time, or 12 o’clock to 5 p.m. in Bangladesh. As we had already sent out the BMA online training presentations by e-mail, they were available to everybody for the start of the training.
The date set for the first online training session was 7 March. Both the organisers and trainers were curious to see whether the concept would work.
Communication between the BMA and Dhaka Sugar teams was by video, audio message, telephone and chat. This made it possible to share information and discuss all important training content at any time during and after the presentations.
Following the remote training, the Dhaka Sugar operating staff received a digital questionnaire, which allowed the BMA trainers to check whether the training content had been effectively communicated. This feedback from the participants also made us aware that some content should be presented in more detail.
Now that the first BMA online training session is over, there are some things we know for certain. All Dhaka Sugar staff showed great interest in the training content and enjoyed the training format. There were many questions and discussions, and all participants learnt something new.
This success is proof that remote training from BMA is a suitable training format. It is highly likely that training blocks 2 (equipment and instrumentation) and 3 (automation and operation) will also be delivered online, at least in part. The final block of the BMA training is scheduled to take place on site at the Bangladesh refinery, to practise operation of the plants and equipment.