First aid supplies in the workplace

Health and nutrition expert, Lindsay Loveridge discusses the new British standard for workplace first aid equipment.

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations first brought into play in 1981 state all employers must provide adequate supplies, facilities and equipment along with trained personnel to help ensure employees have access to immediate attention in the event of an accident or illness in the workplace. The regulations are applied to all workplaces, including small businesses (fewer than 5 employees) and even if you work from home or are self-employed.
First Aid Kit

What should a first aid kit contain?

In the past, guidance has not always been clear about what a first aid kit should actually consist of, meaning that in the worst case scenario emergency, some companies and organisations discover their first aids kits are lacking in the essentials, or are outdated and of limited use to whoever needs them. For instance, it’s quite common for some first aid kits to have a very limited amount of plasters and wipes, so it is up to the employers to ensure their kit has adequate supplies. A shortage of supplies could potentially be harmful for people who are ill or injured.

A new standard

Published in 2011, a new British standard (BC 8599-1) for first aid equipment and supplies in the workplace introduced new recommendations including the right amount of particular components for different sizes of first aid kits. It also recommends the number of kits needed judging by an organisation’s size. This new standard should be conformed to by employers and manufacturers along with anyone in the workplace who assembles the kits. Included are more modern and functional products, removing any older and outdated methods of first aid – it also encompasses a wider range of common risks in the workplace. Some of the new additions include:

• A larger number of disposable gloves. Vinyl is out, and nitrile is now required, providing a more dexterous and allergy-free method for first aiders.
• The amount of triangular bandages has been reduced as they are not as commonly used for limb injuries.
• Smaller absorbent wound dressings have been introduced for injuries and cuts on fingers.
• The introduction of adhesive tape which is tearable, non-woven and hypoallergenic, eliminates the need for safety bins for securing bandages.
• New gel burn dressings which are water-based (with no need for pre-cooling before use) along with conforming bandages to secure them.
• A resuscitation face shield provides first aiders with a protective barrier when carrying out mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Workplace environments have been categorised by BS 8599-1 according to their risk levels – for instance, low risk workplaces would include offices, cafes and shops, whereas medium and high risk locations would include warehouses, construction sites and working with chemicals. The number of employees is also a factor.

It is an employer’s legal responsibility to offer appropriate and immediate help and first aid to their workers in the event of an accident, injury or other circumstance, and standard first aid kits can be complemented with other items if necessary.

Lindsay Loveridge is a health and nutritional expert who writes for, and researches on, various online websites and blogs, including www.stjohnsupplies.co.uk. Well-versed on the subject of first aid, she also works as a personal trainer and is based in London.

If you’re looking for first aid training for your staff to go with your first aid kit, you can find and compare a wide range of UK courses on our First Aid Training Hot Topic.

Creating a Contract of Employment

Helen McDougall from Fingertip HR Solutions shares some top tips for building a good employment contract.

Fingertip HR Solutions Logo A good contract of employment is fundamentally a solid start to a relationship between employee and employer as it defines all of the key terms so that there is clarity about how things work and what entitlements the employee has. It is worth therefore spending a little time and effort to make sure it really works for the business whilst still meeting all of the legal requirements.

Section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 is very clear as to what should be provided in writing to an employee to detail the main terms and conditions of their employment, but it is how well the contract is written and what is added that can make a difference.

Don’t be tempted to use a standard template that you have downloaded from somewhere if you don’t know how to adapt it to fit your business needs, or what you can and can’t legitimately add.

Think ahead as to what you may need the practical operation of the business to look like in say 5 years’ time and build in the flexibility now which will get you there. Once a contract is signed by an employee the content of it is difficult to change but if the ability to change arrangements through things that are already built in is there, you can implement them when you need them.

When developing an employment contract for your business you may want to think about adding some additional items to give some flexibility to make changes or add additional rights for the employer such as the right to make deductions from pay, confidentiality, return of company property on termination of employment, mobility clause, the right to change shift patterns etc.

Fingertip’s Contract Creator service at www.fingertipsolutions.org.uk/contract-creator is a quick and easy way to make sure you maximise the opportunity to have good contracts in place for your business.

Tags: ,

Does Office Politics Affect your Health and Safety Culture?

by Gavin Bates, Community and Communications Manager, Workplace Law

I was reading a very interesting blog this week from a life coach expert who was asking the question ‘do you copy your boss in on emails to other colleagues?’ This boils down to when you ask colleagues to do something for you and they don’t at the first time of asking so the second time you ask you copy in your boss and, miraculously, assistance arrives.

This is something that I’m sure a lot of people can relate to and I’m sure goes on in many workplaces across the UK. But what does this have to do with health and safety culture? Well, the roots causes that underlie this kind of activity and which is explored in the article is one of many things that build up to create so called ‘office politics’, and where this exists so can a bad health and safety culture.

No matter what working environment you are in a culture where co-operation is fostered through fear of repercussions rather than a commitment to the activities and goals themselves will not lead to good health and safety.

A member of staff who does not respond to an email request immediately may or may not be doing so maliciously but in the majority of cases I’m sure that it will be nothing personal and may simply be a case of them prioritising tasks, having too big a workload or not understanding what you’ve asked. To assume that they are unwilling to help and bring in the threat of management may get the work done in the short term but it is not going to create a strong relationship with that colleague or a strong working environment. Without communicating and actually establishing why your request has been ‘ignored’, as you perceive it, you will not be able to build a rapport with that individual such that next time you ask you get an immediate response.

In examples such as this we expend a lot of energy toing and froing, over-thinking all the negative reasons why we are not receiving help and making sure we’ve covered our own backs. When really that energy would be much better spent all making sure we do the best job possible.

In a culture where there is no responsibility amongst staff and it is seen that authority only comes from above then how can you ever hope to manage something as serious as health and safety? In this kind of environment staff will ignore risks thinking it is not their responsibility or report them to the powers that be and assume that that is where their involvement ends.

Of course management need to empower their staff but it is only the employees themselves that can take on responsibility. Ultimately, do we want a workforce that sees a pile of boxes blocking a fire escape and then just proceeds to complain about the person that has put the boxes there or one where they see the problem and think of a solution – such as speaking to the individual who left them there and working out a way together for them to be somewhere where they are not risking lives? Responsibility at work is the same as anywhere else in life – it is both individual and collective but it can’t be one at the expense of the other.

In the aforementioned article, the author talks about the flaws of using emails to get a point across and how much more effective it is to get up, walk across the room and actually go and talk to someone. Some people are naturally inclined to communicating this way, others less so for whatever reason but there is no doubt that working face to face helps to build the best relationships and encourages stronger communication. Sometimes we may be too nervous or fearful of what the other person may think of us rather than just being committed to saying what we need to, expressing ourselves and responding to the person’s actual response rather than what we assume they will say.

In a workplace where we are worried only about how what we say will be perceived then the focus can never be on doing the best job. Trying to protect yourself and keep others happy to avoid facing confrontation and responsibility doesn’t solve problems, it just creates more.

A lot of focus at the moment is on regulation and, whilst this is necessary, I think what is far more pressing is fostering workplaces and a society where we communicate and take responsibility, both for ourselves and for others.

Instead of a political blame culture all about looking good, I think it is high time we switched to one that empowers individuals, works towards being the best and, ultimately, creates a safer and healthier world for everyone.

Workplace Law is a specialist in employment law, health and safety, and environmental management. We deliver a range of certified training courses accredited by professional associations including CIPD, IEMA, IOSH and NEBOSH.

Gavin Bates

You can also find a wide variety of health and safety courses in help’s health and safety training hot topic page.

NEBOSH Revision Tips

Peter Minto from Train To Safety shares his top tips on how to revise for a NEBOSH exam…

One of the most common questions I’m asked by students is ‘is there anything extra I can do to prepare for my NEBOSH exam?’ While there is no magic formula that guarantees a pass, there is a lot you can do to improve your chances of getting good results. Here are my top 10 tips for NEBOSH success:

1. Be prepared – physically. Make sure you have a couple of pens (they really do have a funny habit of running out mid exam) and if you need reading glasses, don’t forget those. (Mine ran out during my last NEBOSH exam I took. I had a spare). Yes, it has happened.

2. Be prepared – mentally. As well as your revision, it’s worth doing a little planning and deciding on how you are going to address the exam questions. For example, you might want to start with an easy question, or tackle some of the harder ones first. Personally, I like to start with an easier question to get my confidence going, but it’s about deciding what will work for you on the day.

3. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Make certain you have put in the hard graft outside of the classroom because this is where the real learning takes place. Be sure to read up on the subject, complete any exercises set and try to apply the theory you have learned to your workplace. Don’t think you can turn up for a NEBOSH course and just pass the exams. NEBOSH state there is a minimum set time required for home study, but I am doubtful if it is possible to pass the exams by only completing this minimum time. To get a good mark, you need to invest the time and prepare, prepare, prepare!

4. Practice, practice, practice. Try to get some past NEBOSH papers with examiners reports, and complete plenty of practice NEBOSH exam questions. Always research the answers fully and mark yourself critically in order to improve. I recommend the NEBOSH Hughes and Ferrett Study Book for additional reading, and there is a great range of questions within it. Immerse yourself in NEBOSH.

5. Back up your learning by keeping up to date with relevant industry news. By reading trade press such as IOSH’s SHP or the BSC’s Safety Manager, you’ll begin to appreciate how health and safety issues are discussed in the media. Also be sure to keep an eye on the news, as there are often relevant stories – even if it’s the banking sector just talking the ‘speak’ about risk management.

6.
With great NEBOSH understanding comes the ability to critically assess what’s happening around you in the workplace, so make sure you do. This will help you apply your knowledge and deepen your understanding. Wherever possible, try to implement new principals from the classroom into your role.

7.
On the day of your exam, arrive in good time. If you turn up minutes before its due to start, you’ll be flustered and less likely to be able to concentrate from the start. Make sure you allow time for unexpected traffic and finding the venue! By arriving with plenty of time to spare, you’ll be able to settle down, have a drink, and get into the right frame of mind before starting.

8.RTFQ – Read the flippin question. It sounds really basic, but you’d be surprised how many people unfortunately fall foul of this one. Read each question twice, underling three key words and think about what your answer needs to demonstrate. All too often in practice exams I see questions that have only been partially answered – such as giving no examples when they are asked for – and answers that are technically brilliant but don’t actually answer the question.

9. There will be an awkward, obscure question on the exam paper. Don’t panic. Just read the question carefully and think about what you would like to your answer to say. If you’re taking the NEBOSH Diploma, my advice is to start with the trickiest optional 20 point questions first. You’ll need to answer three of the five options, so get these out of the way first and focus on creating good quality answers. You’ll feel more confident, and be able to move on to the shorter, compulsory 10 point questions feeling like you have probably passed the exam already. Just be sure to tick off the questions as you go, and check that none of the mandatory ones have been missed.

10.
Never ask when the next resit date would be. This is totally negative thinking, instead focus on positive preparation and learning. The minimum pass mark is 45%, but don’t sell yourself short and aim to do as well as you possibly can. If you follow my ten tips, you’ll have a great chance of achieving a distinction, so go for it. Good luck!

Train To Safety offer a range of health and safety courses, including NEBOSH training. You can find out more on the Train To Safety website, or on their Help Training Courses page.

We also have a range of NEBOSH courses available UK-wide on our NEBOSH Hot Topic.

Summer Learning Opportunities

If you’re breaking up from school, college or university in the coming weeks or months there are loads of  summer learning opportunities out there to help you make the most of your holidays – they’re an excellent way of gaining experience and will look great on your CV. In fact, there are so many possibilities the only tough part is deciding what you want to do.

Distance Learning Short Courses – Distance Learning isn’t just for those who want to set up their own business or study for a degree in their own time, it’s for everyone! There are loads of short distance learning courses available – and as always with distance learning, you can study in your own time and fit your training around other commitments. You can either learn something applicable to your career, which will help you stand out in the recruitment process, or learn something just for fun. There’s no harm in putting that on your CV either, it’ll show you’re interested and highly motivated – skills that employers want.

Join An Evening Class –there is a huge range of evening classes out there, and it’s a great way to develop some practical skills with expert guidance. Cooking and languages are always popular, but check your local paper and colleges to see what’s available in your area. Usually there is a small fee for attending each class or the course overall, but evening classes are a great way to make new friends by meeting people from your area who share your interests.

One for the girls, but if you’re feeling adventurous the WI (Women’s Institute) are seeing a surge in membership from all ages as up-cycling and knitting stay in vogue. You’ll get to meet some pretty interesting people from all ages and pick up some retro skills.

Play Some Sport – Again, check local listings and papers for clubs and teams you can join. Depending on what sports you’re into, there’ll be something to suit you – you don’t have to be super fit and there are plenty of beginners classes and taster sessions available. If you’re feeling adventurous, try giving something extreme a go! Being part of a team or having an interesting hobby or interest on your CV will help you stand out too.

Volunteer – If you want to give a little back, there are loads of volunteering opportunities out there. Think about what you might like to get some experience in, and research relevant opportunities – boosting your karma levels needn’t be painful. For example, if you want some retail experience, charity shops are always looking for keen, friendly staff; or if you’re interested in events, festivals UK-wide offer free tickets in return for minimum working hours while you’re there. You could be litter picking, manning the beer stand or coordinating the lost and found. The best places fill up fast, but it’s great experience, minimum wage and some live music.

Tutor – Bit of a random one, but there is loads to learn through teaching. Plus we hear it’s pretty rewarding too. It’ll give you a chance to hone your abilities and develop excellent communication skills, and you’ll pass on your knowledge. Best to stick to subjects you know really well, but you can teach academic subjects, beauty skills or music (finally a use for those bassoon lessons your parents made you take). Just pop an ad in the local paper and see what happens.

Get a Summer Job – If you want some real life, practical workplace experience then maybe a summer job is for you. Check out our Summer Jobs for Students blog, packed full of application tips and interviewed tricks to help you secure the job you want this summer.

With so many summer learning opportunities out there, what will you be doing? Let us know in the comments below.

Teach your kids to program

Why you’d want to and how to get started early.

I’ll begin this on a personal note. I learned to program when I was 9 years old. It didn’t seem a big deal at the time and the programs certainly weren’t rocket science (despite being on a machine similar in power to the Apollo guidance computer) but it was fun, in the way that solving puzzles is, and useful. Just about that time, way back in the early 1980s when CDs were enormous and went round at 33 RPM, computers were introduced to schools in the UK and children were taught how they worked. Not just how to use them but what went on inside and how to program them.

BBC Micro

The BBC Micro. Somehow, a generation managed to learn to code on computers like this.

By the time I reached 16, I was able to sit a new GCSE in Computer Science which included those technical elements. The subject wasn’t mandatory, but a bunch of kids chose to take it and passed. As the Computing at School Working Group put it recently “That generation grew up to make the UK a world leader in computer related technologies.”

When I started work in my first professional IT job in the early 90s, the average age of technical (programming) staff in the office was around 25. Since then a gradual change has happened. Twenty years later, that average age seems nearer 40 and I think that tells it’s own story. The UK had created a generation which could code, design and create computer-based products but then somehow lost the ability to keep that up. We lost the plot.

In schools, a change that had started a couple of decades back with a reasonable enough aim to arm young people up with general skills in using computers had somehow not moved with the times.  Frankly, it looks like some parts of IT teaching had eventually become a GCSE in the digital equivalent of colouring in without going over the lines and holding scissors properly. Basic computing use is a primary school skill in 2012 and our teenagers were quite rightly bored with going over those basics in the classroom.

Over the last few years it’s become increasingly hard to recruit young people with technical IT skills and yet at the same time unemployment for under 25s has risen to real problem levels. Our 16-18 year-olds deserve better.

Google’s Chairman, Eric Schmidt picked up on this in his McTaggart Lecture in August 2011 and said that the UK was “throwing away your great computer heritage”.
“I was flabbergasted to learn that today computer science isn’t even taught as standard in UK schools,” he said. “Your IT curriculum focuses on teaching how to use software, but gives no insight into how it’s made.”
The surprise was that this seemed a real shock to folks setting education policy. It seems to reveal that somehow the problem was previously invisible, or maybe just not seen as a particular priority.

The really good news is that the issue has now been recognised and is being actively tackled. A Department for Education press release calls the current curriculum ‘harmful’ and describes how it will be dropped this September in favour of more ‘rigorous computer science’. The ongoing challenge is that real, meaningful change will take time. There is momentum and resistance in the current system and it has taken a couple of decades to reach this point. That won’t be corrected overnight. But as the Chinese Proverb says: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.”

In the meantime, while the education system gets geared up to the modern age, there are plenty of things that you can do if you’re a parent to help your own kids right now. I’ll share a few experiences of things that have worked for me and my two daughters.

The tips here are aimed at primary school age upwards. Some of the simpler concepts are understandable with a little help by children as young as six or seven years old. Some of the more advanced ideas will definitely need a little more maturity than that. All kids are different though and really I’m looking to give you a toolbox of ideas to pick from as you find appropriate.

First of all, I’ll kick off with my top three programming environments for kids. Rather than being based on my own assumptions, these are the ones that have actually caught my own kids’ attention most and that I’ve had similar feedback on from friends. Here goes:

Scratch

Saying Hello This is definitely my top choice for younger kids. It’s easy, it’s fun, it’s visual and it’s free.

Scratch was developed by the MIT Media Lab with the specific aim of creating an environment in which young people can explore programming and creative ideas. I first tried it with my oldest daughter when she was about seven years old and she got it completely, quickly creating some little animations.

One of the powerful aspects of scratch from a learning point of view is that the programming statements themselves are visual blocks which you can drag into place, making it much clearer what will happen. At the same time, they reflect the normal programming constructs such as sequences, loops and decisions in a way that almost subconsciously teaches those concepts.

A simple scratch program It’s interesting that Massachusetts, where scratch was created, came out in a recent International Comparison of Computing in Schools by the National Foundation for Educational Research as having the lowest age for introducing use of ICT (age 6) and also introducing kids to the technical ICT aspects (age 12) of any region in their survey. People in the area clearly have an interest in building a next generation of technical skills and it’s easy to see how Scratch could fit with that bigger picture.

Cost: Completely free.
Where: Download from scratch.mit.edu
Runs on: Windows, Mac, Linux

Lego Mindstorms

Mindstorms is based around the popular Lego contruction toys and centers on a programmable ‘brick’ which can control up to three motors based on the input from four sensors. Instructions for creating a number of ‘robots’ comes with the set and that makes it pretty quick to get up and running with.

The sensors include some fun options such as proximity sensing and colour recognition which can make for some creative machines. It’s clear from the creations produced by the strong online community of help and ideas sharing around Mindstorms that a high proportion of it’s fans are not actually children (admission: I bought my first Mindstorms set when I was 27), so if you’re a parent who enjoys contruction sets, this could be for you. Just remember to let your kids have a go now and again.

The programming environment for Mindstorms is in some ways similar to scratch in that it’s a drag and drop environment based around visual elements which can be placed in order and within loops to create your program. In this case, the visual blocks are specialised and geared towards reacting to sensors and moving motors. In that sense, I think Mindstorms is less of a step towards general real world programming than scratch. However, it is fun to build and program, the community around it is great and it makes a good rainy day project which can be re-built in seemingly endless different variations.

Cost: Around £200 for the Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 kit.
Where:Lego shop, online and offline toy shops
Runs on: Windows and Mac (Sadly no Linux support from the manufacturer which is a little disappointing given that a large part of their target audience is likely to be parents who like tinkering with technology. There are various ways to program Mindstorms from Linux but they don’t seem very child friendly so you might prefer to look at Scratch or Arduino if this is an issue to you).

Arduino

Arduino Uno

One of my own Arduino creations. For kid-friendly projects, just replace the beer with a soft drink.

This is probably the hardest to get started with on my list of three here but on the scale of things not that difficult to learn and it has the advantage of being able to create some real world, useful projects. Far from being a toy, Arduino is a fully fledged prototyping platform backed by a programming language which has syntax similar to many used in business environments (such as ‘C’ and Java) and a small number of instructions to learn. The instructions are text-based rather than the visual programming which Scratch and Mindstorms use.

The ability to put together something useful very quickly can get quite addictive and it doesn’t take much of a leap to start creating little Arduino-based gadgets for your own life. Recently, I built a controller for my camera to help shoot timelapse videos and my kids made a disco for their toy cats – each to their own.

The best place to get started is the Arduino website itself, where you can download the environment, find some useful getting started tips and ask questions of the Arduino community. If you prefer something on paper, the book ‘Getting Started with Arduino’ by Arduino co-founder Massimo Banzi is a big help with the basics, and ‘30 Arduino Projects for the Evil Genius’ takes things to the next level if your kids fancy themselves as mad scientists and/or megalomaniacs with secret lairs.

Cost: you can get an Arduino Uno board for under £20. The software is free (and open source). Unless you already have electronics bits and bobs to use, you’ll probably want a selection of LEDs, resistors, buttons, etc. One simple way to get all this stuff is to look for a starter kit (just search for ‘arduino starter kit’ and you’ll find plenty). Around £50 total will get you going and after that it’s just a case of whether you want to invest in more components to build extra hardware. The programming aspect costs nothing.
Where: Mainstream and hobby electronics suppliers (search for ‘arduino uno’). Getting started guides, tips and help are available from the Arduino website.
Runs on: Windows, Mac, Linux

What, no Raspberry Pi?

The reason this is in almost as an afterthought is simply that I haven’t managed to get my hands on one yet. When I do, I’ll give it a go and write up my first thoughts.

Top tips on how to help

So you’ve downloaded scratch or your Arduino starter kit’s just arrived. Now what?

Do your own learning first

There’s nothing more frustrating than being on a training course where the instructor seems to be just reading from a book as they go along and can’t answer questions, so you don’t want to be that instructor in front of your kids. If you’re going to try something you haven’t done yourself before, work it out on your own first, otherwise you could end up with a fragmented, boring experience for your otherwise enthusiastic pupils. (Obviously teaching troubleshooting is an important skill too, but that can come later).

Look for ways to apply existing skills before teaching new ones

There’s a lot you can do with simple top to bottom sequences of instructions before you need to reach for loops and make complex decisions in your program. Simple sequences are understandable, reliable, low on the frustration scale and easy to play around with. There’s no harm in letting this be explored to it’s full potential.

Create projects which are important to your kids, not to you

Scratch saying something

A cat which you can make say slightly rude words. When you're eight, it doesn't get much better than this.

This isn’t the time to try to create some new artificial intelligence based stock market predictor. Let your kids be the lead and if they want to create a project which seems, well, childish, what does it really matter?

Join in the fun

All parents know that kids want to spend time with them, so join in the projects, muck in and help out but…

Don’t take over

Remember you’re a helper here. To be honest, this can be one of the hardest things. It’s just so tempting to create something you want to rather than what your kids are building. You can do that, but do it in your own time.

Give them space to surprise you

The things they figure out on their own are often the real gems. Give you kids a bit of space to learn for themselves and just try stuff out. You might be surprised at the results.

None of this is a substitute for going outside and experiencing the world

I spend my working life with computers and really enjoy it but when home time comes there’s nothing I like more than just getting outside. As far as possible, free time is spent in the hills, down the park with the kids, or just in the garden. There’s a balance to be had and I certainly don’t want to teach my own girls that sitting in front of a screen all the time is the future.

So will my kids be able to do anything useful with this?

(other than get a job and earn money)

It’s easy to see the value of being able to program purely in a commercial sense but it’s much wider than that. Often the more immediate benefit is that you can simply build stuff which helps you out, even if that’s nothing more than a few scripts to automate tedious stuff in your day to day job. The end result of this is that more of your human brainpower can be used for what it’s best at, i.e. – dealing with more creative and unusual work instead of repeating the same thinking time after time. That seems a genuinely handy life skill to me.

Another benefit is that even if you don’t end up coding much yourself, being able to converse with the techies on some common ground is a useful business skill. It helps you describe your problem and understand the answer, much in the same way as a basic understanding of car mechanics helps you out when it’s time for a visit to the local garage. It also means that when your kids think up that idea for the next big tech startup in ten years time, they’ll at least be able to give it a bit of a sanity check.

I’ll finish by stressing that teaching my own kids some simple programming isn’t about some kind of pushy parenting for me though. At the end of the day, the best you can do is simply to create opportunities and possibilities. In this case, they’re opportunities that have been largely missing in mainstream education recently but that thankfully now seem to be gradually returning. In the meantime, you might just help the next generation of technical innovators get a little step ahead and create some fun projects in the process.

Talking about Training

We talk to our training provider community everyday, and understanding the issues that effect the training industry is important to us.

To open up these issues for more discussion and to share ideas, we’ve compiled our hottest hot topics at the moment – taken from questions we’re frequently asked at Help HQ and knowledge that training providers have shared with us.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be exploring the training issues that are really affecting training providers and learners alike. This week, we’re focusing on relevant support, aftercare and ROI measurement.

Supporting learning – and helping learners get the most from their training

The focus of training providers and learners alike is often how those undertaking training can get the most from their course.

Supporting learners after they have finished your training can be a challenge. Away from the training room and the group, individuals can find it difficult to implement the new skills they have learned, as they do not fit with existing processes. With studies showing that we work harder at work now than we’ve ever done before historically, just finding time to try new techniques in the workplace can be difficult. We’re seeing training providers actively taking responsibility for this with the implementation of aftercare packages. These include leaving those who have completed the training with information packs or access to online content and offering aftercare support.

What types of training support do you currently offer your learners and how has this evolved?

Helping customers measure return on training investment

Return on training investment is a really controversial topic at the moment, with many larger organisations pushing the importance of understanding just exactly how much bang they’re getting from their buck, and others dismissing the idea of such monitoring entirely.

Even for those who want to monitor ROI, assessing the success of training and measuring return on investment can be difficult when training large groups of staff in-house. When such significant time and investment is spent on the development of a workforce, it can be a high priority for organisations to measure statistics, but often any type of quantitative data can be complicated to calculate and difficult to understand.

For others oragnisations training staff the real benefit of training is the qualitative difference it makes to performance and motivation in staff on a personal level.

What are your experiences of helping organisations monitor return on investment of their training?

What other issues are affecting you as a learner or as a provider of training? Let us know in the comments below.

Happy Jubilee Weekend!

We hope you’ll be enjoying the Jubilee in a very proper British fashion with a cucumber sandwich and a glass of Pimms this weekend as the UK celebrates.

Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in 1952, and has been on the throne for 60 years.

We’re not sure that red, white and blue go with our green look though, so here’s some other awesome stuff that happened in 1952 we’ll be celebrating this weekend too. Huzzah.

1. The first diet soft drink appeared on shelves. Good news for waistlines, still bad news for teeth.
2. The Big Bang Theory of the Universe was first suggested. Many minds were blown.
3. If Area 51 exists (and we’re not saying it does) then it was created in 1952. Allegedly.
4. Tony the Tiger was voted the face of Frosties. He beat two other less impressive cartoon mascots to appear on the box, and he’s been making breakfast taste grrrrrrrrrrreat since.
5. Mr Potato Head was patented.
6. The first British top 20 chart launched (compiled by a couple of guys from NME through informal phone calls every week to London record stores).
7. Tea rationing in the UK ended, marking an age of unrestricted access to caffeine and sugar we still enjoy today.
8. Mr T was born, fool.

So whatever you’re celebrating and wherever you are, have a good one from all of the Help Training Courses team!

Tags:

How To Become a Personal Trainer

In a special guest blog post, Phil Moore talks about becoming a personal trainer, getting qualified and staying fit.

I’ve always wanted to become a personal trainer.Personal Training

I wanted to have a career in an industry I was passionate about. I have been an active individual since I was young, participating in several different sports and athletics. I believe it’s important to do something you enjoy. It’s very motivating to take something I enjoy and instil it in others.

You need to work hard to get qualified.

After my degree I undertook a six-week course to become a qualified personal trainer. It was REPS (Register of Exercise Professionals) accredited which is important if you want to work for gyms in the UK. When I was starting out most gyms wanted someone with previous experience so I would often train my friends and family for free.

There’s no such thing as a typical day for a personal trainer.

As a personal trainer the hours you work will be quite different from a normal job. Most of your clients will work 9am -5pm and so you must be willing to train them around their work – which means early starts and late finishes, however you do get a lot of time off during the day. Also since many of my clients have different goals every day is different.

Knowing that I’m helping others improve motivates me.

The most rewarding feeling is knowing that you have helped a client achieve their goals -whether that’s an improved physique, a faster 10km time or simply a better quality of life.

If you’re thinking about a career in personal training…

Anyone who is passionate and enthusiastic about health and fitness can become a personal trainer. The first step would be to enrol on a REPS level 3 course. However what makes a good and successful trainer are those that continue to invest in themselves, whether that’s through additional courses and workshops or reading books and journals. For new trainers looking to set themselves apart from the rest I would recommend reading anything by Charles Poliquin or Paul Chek.

And if you’re thinking about getting fit, don’t forget that…

There is much more to health and fitness than just going to the gym. Sleep, nutrition, work, stress and lifestyle are all aspects of ones life that need to be considered to become fit both mentally and physically. To become fit physically one tip I recommend is full body functional-strength training. This uses a large number of muscle groups simultaneously which can be a far more effective and quicker way of burning excess body fat than your typical long slow duration cardio training.

Phil works for one of the leading Personal Training companies in the North East, Body Guards Fitness Service Ltd. He can help you boost your fitness with bespoke personal training sessions, call 0787344066 for more information.

For those keen to pursue a career in fitness, we have a range of fitness training courses available UK-wide on the Help Training Courses website.

Tags:

Adult Learners Week 2012

You’re never too old to learn.Learning metaphor

This week is Adult Learners Week, a national annual celebration of learning without age limits.

Taking place between 12th – 18th May 2012, Adult Learners Week focuses on how learning can change lives. No matter how old you are, there is always potential to develop new skills and abilities.

The week-long celebration recognises significant achievement and aims to showcase the range of learning opportunities there are out there. Whether it’s undertaking a distance learning qualification to help you change careers, attending a short training course to advance your skills or just attending a hobby course to pursue an interest, there is a lot to learn.

Adult Learners Week is a great opportunity to discover a new passion. You’re never too old to learn something new, so what are you waiting for?

You can follow Adult Learners Week on Twitter, hashtag #ALW12.

And if you’re looking to learn something new…

The Help Training Courses site helps thousands of people every month just like you find and book training, whatever you want to learn. We’ve got everything from Accountancy to Zoology (with a lot in between).