British Columbia’s Apprentices Embrace Mobile Logbook

by Amanda Saffioti

Apprentice and trainee crane operators in British Columbia have used an online logbook to record and demonstrate their competence since 2011. Now they are going mobile with a new app called SkillRecord.

The SkillRecord app — available for iPhone and Android devices — allow users to log hours worked, tasks performed, equipment used and other relevant details. The mobile app also makes it easy to add photos to logbook entries. Photos greatly increase the value of a logbook.

SkillRecord logbook app

SkillRecord automatically summarizes logbook entries by employer, equipment and other criteria. These summaries provide valuable “big picture” insights into a tradesperson’s practical experience and competence.

SkillRecord enhances the mentoring process used in trades training. Apprentices can provide sponsors with access to their logbooks. Sponsors can review progress summaries, identify areas where more experience is required, approve logbook entries and provide timely feedback — all on the go!

SkillRecord users can also allow co-workers to view their logbooks. This provides the potential for trades workers to learn from each others experiences.

The British Columbia Association for Crane Safety (BCACS) sponsored the rollout of SkillRecord for their members. “Our goal is to promote safe crane operation.” says Fraser Cocks, executive director of the BCACS. “SkillRecord gives the employer a more complete picture of an operator’s abilities. When you’re dealing with a multi-million dollar piece of equipment, you want to know that the person you’re putting in the seat is qualified to do the job. SkillRecord is a real game changer. It helps ensure a safer workplace.”

tower crane operator

Robert Aitken, one of the lead developers of SkillRecord, credits the enthusiastic adoption of the next generation logbook to the next generation of skilled workers. “Young people use mobile technology every day. To them, using an app to facilitate their training and to document their work experience is not only natural but, increasingly, it is expected. A lot of new tradespeople will need to be trained over the next decade as baby boomers retire — SkillRecord is well positioned to help with that.”

Apprentice crane operators in BC are required to demonstrate competence using a complete and verified online logbook. The Industry Training Authority of BC (ITA) has embraced the technology and accepts a sponsor’s electronic “sign off” within SkillRecord as the final requirement to initiate formal certification testing.

BCACS and ITA have pioneered the use of mobile technology to support apprentices and trainees in BC’s apprenticeship system. This partnership is a great example of regulator/industry collaboration.

BC is now seen as a world leader in modernizing trades apprenticeship, improving training and workplace safety in the process.