Upskilling our workforce with new simulated training facilities
Learning experiences at the new facilities will focus on deploying, activating and maintaining each of the fixed line technologies used in the access network’s rollout, simulating a variety of challenges and complexities that can arise in a day’s work. Experiences will range from formal training courses to practically assessing the current workforce on specific technical activities.
Says NBN Co’s Chief Network Engineering Officer Peter Ryan, “With more than 30,000 workers out in the field helping to roll the nbn™ access network out, we remain committed to the continuous development of a highly capable workforce to help ensure the network is of the quality Australians expect.”
The nbn™ Network Simulation Labs
Part of a nationwide training initiative, the nbn™ Network Simulation Labs will provide state-of-the-art simulated live network training facilities for in-field telecommunications workers. Workers will be immersed in an environment that simulates real-life experiences in key areas of network delivery, including connecting pits and pipes to homes and businesses, installing equipment before the network is activated, and helping to resolve connection faults.
This hands-on training is designed to increase speed to mastery for individual workers. Through the various learning experiences, the labs will help ensure current and future telecommunications workers further develop the skills and competency needed to continually improve the quality of the nbn™ access network rollout.
“The launch coincides with the peak build phase of the network,” says Ryan, “with up to 100,000 new Australian homes and businesses being added to our footprint each month. This means we require highly competent, multi-skilled technical workers to not only deploy the network but also help deliver a quality network for people who connect to and use the nbn™ access network.”
How the new facilities are designed to help
With five fixed line technologies used to connect an assortment of property types to the nbn™ access network, not every installation is the same.
“There are lots of complexities that come up when working on a live network that can impact the way a technician needs to complete an installation or fix a fault,” says Ryan. “The benefit of these labs is that we can program problems and challenges for workers to deal with before they get out in the field. They can immediately see how their actions impact a live network and can start building their expertise from day one.”
With its mix of cities, rural communities and remote locations, Australia is one of the most challenging countries for a telecommunications overhaul. The nbn™ Network Simulation Labs are another commitment from NBN Co to help ensure equipment installations are right the first time.
“In the last year, we have increased our ability to deliver equipment installations right the first time from eight out of ten times to around nine out of ten today – the new nbn™ Network Simulation Labs are part of our plan to help ensure we continue to improve.”
Where the nbn™ Network Simulation Labs have launched
The first of the nbn™ Network Simulation Labs was developed with the support and co-operation of TAFE NSW, with the inaugural lab opening at its Lidcombe campus.
Dr Geethani Nair, Head of Skillspoint, Technology and Business Services for TAFE NSW, believes the nbn™ Network Simulation Labs are a step in the right direction to support the rollout.
“As the largest education and training provider in Australia, TAFE NSW is committed to providing high quality, industry-relevant training for the jobs of tomorrow. TAFE NSW is focused on working with industry to design and develop new solutions to meet current and future need.
“These facilities using our qualified trainers will equip NBN Co’s in-field workers across the country with the skills they need to successfully design, build and operate one of the nation’s most important projects.”
Why they are important
The nbn™ Network Simulation Labs make up one part of NBN Co’s Industry Capability Solutions Program. Launched in 2015 with a $40m investment, the program is designed to bolster the capacity and capability of the telecommunications workforce employed by the company’s approved Delivery Partners.
The labs and our recently released monthly progress report are two examples of NBN Co’s continued focus on improving the installation experience of Australian homes and businesses connecting to the nbn™ access network.
The nbn™ Network Simulation Labs will provide training access on all fixed line technologies used to deliver the nbn™ access network, including Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP), Fibre-to-the-Node (FTTN), Fibre-to-the-Building (FTTB), Fibre-to-the-Curb (FTTC) and Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC).