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Asset Management is a coat of many colours. Lots of people are offering opinions on its true meaning and potential impact, a smaller number are practising it and there is a host of different opinions on, how narrow or broad its scope is, whether it is best pursued top down or bottom up and what organisations need to do to get best returns on the investment it requires. These opinions have started to converge since the publication of ISO 55001 in 2015 but consensus is some way off and may not be such a good thing.

Asset Management education and training courses reflect this situation. We reckon there are close to 100 academic programmes offered by universities and around 40 established training providers offering courses in this market globally. The titles of these programmes and courses tell their own story incorporating a range of variants on asset management such as infrastructure asset management, asset integrity management, asset and maintenance management and engineering asset management. The contents continue this, notable as much for what they leave out (e.g. finance and investment, workforce planning etc) as what they include.

For organisations planning the development of their workforces to support the implementation of better asset management (however they conceive of this) it is essential they select programmes, courses and other professional development options that support their objectives. Leaving this to the education or training provider or working on the assumption that Asset Management is Asset Management runs the real risk that staff are being taught one thing while the organisation is seeking another or that staff in different parts of the organisation are taught different things.

There is a further risk that arises from the relative newness of so much of this education and training. Most of it came onto the market since the publication of ISO 55001 so its contents and assessments are in their first iteration.  In the case of training courses, in particular, good trainers are hard come by, course demand is high, many clients are pushing for shorter courses and more online learning because they are driven by deadlines for ISO 55001 accreditation, and not all training providers are experienced training organisations. In these circumstances, the quality and impact of training becomes hard to monitor and evaluate and improve, especially in organisations where there are hundreds of candidates at multiple levels and many external providers.

CAS offers major national and international businesses a unique service – externally managing the selection and performance of training providers and monitoring learner progress and feedback to ensure clients get the training they need to the standards they want and that the process is cost efficient.

CAS Directors have played leading roles in shaping current thinking on asset management best practice over the last decade. Buy (use ASSET10 for 10% off) the new 2nd edition of Asset Management (ICE Publishing London, 2019) edited by CAS Chairman Chris Lloyd and Associate Director Michael Corcoran and featuring chapters they and CAS Technical Director Dr Charles Johnson have written on workforce competence, organisational culture and professional development.