Organisations should create their own training needs assessment

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An overall organisational training needs assessment should be a very comprehensive examination of what is currently being trained, what knowledge, skills, and abilities should be added to a training programme, and what may need to be added in the future.

Areas of assessment and assessment methods can differ from subject to subject within the organisation, and most certainly differ between organisations themselves. You can easily categorise your organisation’s needs into a few areas. First, a ‘felt’ or perceived need is an overall desire for improvement in a certain subject area.

For example, management may point out that customer service complaints have risen. There may not be a direct link to the training programme, but the identification of a rise in complaints is a perceived need.

Next, comparative needs are those needs that are discovered by comparing the training audience to a set of criteria, either internal or external. For example, hard‐number production reports may tell you that a certain target audience is not meeting its goals.

Third, an identified need occurs in response to a failure of some type, such as not meeting goals for a set time period. Identified needs can also be so‐called “critical incident” needs, which occur because of a catastrophic failure such as a factory explosion, a regulatory breach, or even a natural disaster.

The final needs category is future or anticipated needs, which are obviously needs that will occur based on organisational changes, such as new products, new services, or mergers and acquisitions. Although this is a very simple view of the needs you may encounter, it serves as a starting point for the organisation’s overall needs analysis.

Needs can also be related to tasks or jobs, for example if an identified or critical incident need appears, it may be because of gaps in job or task performance, which may point to training gaps.

Needs assessment and analysis methods vary widely based on the organisation, its goals, the timeline for the intervention, and staffing and budget.

Competency identification is another way to assess needs, especially if you are starting from scratch. For example, you may be charged with creating a comprehensive training programme for an entire department or family of jobs where no training currently exists. In this situation, stakeholders, managers, and the people who perform the work can be asked to identify competency areas and the skills that fall under those competencies.

Measurements may be goals, reports, or other data that point to skills gaps. Many times, an operational measurement may be the most concrete identification of a training need. Before you begin assessing various organisational areas for training needs, it’s a good idea to start with training that already exists. Determine the framework for the needs assessment in relation to existing programmes.

What is the scope of changes required? A simple departmental checklist could become a full‐blown course that reaches across various levels of the organisation. Or, it may be something that can stay within its individual department.

Also, look closely at the current delivery method. Can anything that currently exists in a classroom format be converted to a blended or online format? Consider this question in the opposite form: are blended, online, or classroom courses wasting time that could be spent on‐the‐job with a checklist and daily coaching sessions?

Another aspect to consider is whether existing training programmes should be discontinued altogether in order to make room for new or improved programmes?

These are difficult questions to answer, but in order to begin your organisational assessment on strong footing they are necessary.

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Businesses should look at their objectives for 2014

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As we move forward to New Year you’ll probably begin thinking about what you need to accomplish next year. But this list should be more than a set of objectives or goals – your plans for the upcoming year should take the form of the vision and strategy that can help your organisation meets these goals.

In order to do this there are a few steps you should take during your planning process. The first step is to look at your organisation as a whole and determine what the strategy will be 2014.

As the economy emerges from recession organisations are still slow to spend money or expand out of fear. Because of this it is even more important that you start your strategy plans with the overall strategy of your organisation.

Spending for training has to be undertaken with even more care than in the past, so you want to come up with ideas that truly match industry trends and will truly last long enough to show a benefit to the bottom line.

In addition, when dealing with your industry, try to discern between temporary ‘blips’ and those trends that are here to stay. The idea is to get a picture of where training can capitalise on where your specific industry needs are headed in the upcoming year.

Training your staff in the current environment will be absolutely vital to your future success – find out what your customers are planning for the upcoming year, and why. With this information you can determine how your business, and its skills, should move forward in 2014.

Organisations should examine their know-how, then determine what knowledge needs to be added or modified in order to execute their strategy.

You might decide that it makes sense to ‘insource’, which is about changing existing employees’ skill sets to match the new strategy. This can save on new hiring costs, and can also encourage retention of your best staff members.

Financial concerns will make themselves known throughout the planning process, but you need to be thinking about how much you need, what the purpose of the money will be and, more importantly, what will the payback be.

In other words, training can no longer simply exist – it is necessary to prove the worth of training by providing a cost benefit for every pound.

In today’s economy, training budgets and staff have probably been cut. But unfortunately the demands on the training organisation continue to be as they always have been. 4U Training takes time to analyse the current situation, and determine what training steps the organisation can take.

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Training can increase competitiveness and reduce costs

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In today’s challenging business environment, successful companies are looking for ways to enhance their competitive advantages while reducing costs.

Initiatives that improve performance and operations can achieve these often-conflicting goals simultaneously and produce positive results. Expanding the knowledgeability of employees to better, for example, operate and maintain equipment, and consistently comply with both company procedures and industry regulations is one such initiative.

The question then becomes, how do you provide this training while minimising costs? The objective is to help organisations understand the tools that can be leveraged to maximise the value of their training budget.

During harsh economic times, the pressure to reduce expenses skyrockets. At the same time, quality and safety, regulatory compliance and a host of other considerations from “green” initiatives, to employee retention and bottom line performance, must be addressed.

Of course, training can achieve a multitude of various business and operational objectives – far beyond, for example, just complying with regulations. In times of stress, successful businesses find new opportunities, often through through employee training.

To ensure the right people have the right skills and knowledge to maximise performance and produce a quality product or service while meeting other corporate goals, a company must be committed to properly training its employees.

Despite the pressure to reduce costs, cutting training is a shortsighted and potentially costly response that can sometimes lead to disastrous results. Instead, looking to improve the effectiveness of the training programme, with an eye on costs, can produce positive measurable results in the short run as well as long-term.

Just as each person is unique, so are the ways in which we best learn. Whether we call this learning, education or training, it is important to provide the tools that help make individuals successful because successful employees help create successful businesses.

Offering a blended learning methodology that combines job shadowing, instructor-led training and online training is the most successful way to ensure the transfer of knowledge to those that need it.

By offering such a combination, the company benefits from the unique advantages of each training method and doesn’t limit its program and people by the constraints inherent in any one training method.

Successful companies understand that training is an investment, not a cost, which pays off through skilled employees adding value to the business. To paraphrase Zig Ziglar, the only thing worse than training an employee and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.

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Effective Health & Safety Training can combat costs

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Workplace accidents and injuries significantly damage the productivity and efficiency of your operations. Studies have estimated that for every £1 of direct costs incurred in treating and providing disability benefits to an injured employee, employers incur an additional £4 in indirect costs, such as management time spent investigating and handling the claim, lost productivity of the injured worker, hiring and retraining a replacement employee, associated property damage and more.

The cumulative consequences of injuries and accidents are sobering. Such incidents seriously affect bottom-line profit by adding unnecessary costs to your operations and subjecting your company to potential fines and penalties. These costs can range from tens to hundreds of thousands of pounds, depending on the size and scope of your business.

Once your organisation has embraced the need to prioritise workplace safety, it must then focus on two interrelated, yet distinctly different, objectives: compliance and accident prevention.

Many organisations, however, make the mistake of limiting their efforts to this first objective, and neglect the second, much greater, challenge: accident prevention. A successful workplace safety programme requires that an organisation address and achieve both objectives.

It’s a sobering thought that 95% of all injuries and accidents are caused by unsafe employee acts, not unsafe conditions. For example, you may develop very effective standard operating procedures only to discover that no one is following them. You may provide safety glasses and hearing protection, but find no one is wearing them. You may build an ergonomically friendly workstation only to observe poor posture or a “creative” workstation setup.

Because workers’ compensation is a ‘no fault’ system, the costs of injuries that result from lack of employee compliance will still be borne by the organisation, so the only way to ensure a truly successful safety programme is to make the management team responsible for actually preventing injuries and accidents.

In order to accomplish this, a bit of psychology is required. Before managers can take steps to prevent unsafe behaviour they need to first understand what causes people to behave unsafely. This might sound obvious, but when you consider that no one sets out to get injured intentionally, you realise that the complexities of human nature are indeed at play.

There are a range of reasons employees perform unsafe acts. For example, they don’t know the right procedures. Management assumes people will exercise good common sense and therefore does not adequately train employees.

Often this is the outcome of safety instruction that is far too general – for example “be careful”. Conversely, it may result from handing an employee a large safety rules guide and simply instructing them to read it and sign the dotted line. Either way, the employee does not really understand – and is therefore not able to follow – correct safety procedures.

They also take short cuts. Sometimes this occurs because an employee simply gets lazy, and believes it’s just easier to not follow the rules. On the other hand, it can also occur because management has inadvertently encouraged not following the rules by placing unrealistic demands on employees or undertaking poor planning, which in turn results in undo pressure to cut corners to meet deadlines.

Then they can get complacent. Statistically, we know that employees can perform an unsafe act hundreds – even thousands – of times, with no resulting accident. This lack of negative consequence reinforces the unsafe behaviour, creating bad work habits and the attitude that “it will never happen to me.”

We know, however, that the more times unsafe acts occur, statistically the more frequently an accident or injury will result. The key, then, to eliminating injuries and accidents and ultimately the associated costs, is to eliminate unsafe behaviour by counteracting the scenarios outlined above.

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Managers managing safely at work key to business success

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Safety at work is fundamental to the success of any business. The benefits of maintaining a safe work environment are many, but first and foremost, safety is about what you can do to protect your workers.

It’s the right thing to do. Employers should send their workers home in the same condition they came in. Why wouldn’t that be important to a company?

Managers and supervisors who have a sound knowledge of safety principles are essential to any business, and our new ISOH Managing Safely programme will give delegates the knowledge they need to ensure safety in the workplace and to help prevent accidents.

IOSH – the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health – is the Chartered body for health and safety professionals, and with more than 37,000 members in 85 countries, they are the world’s largest professional health and safety organisation.

The IOSH Managing Safely course is primarily designed for managers with responsibility for people or processes. It is equally relevant for managers and supervisors at any level who require a basic broad view of current health and safety requirements and principles.

Managing safely won’t turn delegates into safety experts – but it will give them the knowledge and tools to tackle the health and safety issues they’re responsible for. Importantly, it brings home just why health and safety is such an essential part of their job.

Successful delegates are awarded an IOSH Managing safely certificate, which is an internationally recognised and respected certificated training for managers and supervisors which is quality-controlled by the Chartered body for health and safety professionals.

The assessed course covers the application of recognised management principles in health and safety to equip delegates to tackle issues in their own workplaces such as:

  • the law on health and safety at work
  • the costs of accidents
  • how losses occur
  • safety management models and risk management
  • the nature of commonly encountered hazards
  • human factors affecting safety performance
  • accident causation and investigation

Some managers may see health and safety as an add-on to their role – even an intrusion. This course makes it clear that managers are accountable for their teams, and makes a persuasive case for managing safely.

It demystifies ‘risk’ and ‘risk assessment’. Risk assessments and a simple scoring system are introduced, and we show delegates how to tackle cutting risks down, concentrating on the best techniques to control key risks, and how to choose the right method.

It also looks at the demands of the law and how the legal system works, and how to introduce a health and safety management system. It shows how checking performance can help to improve health and safety, including how to develop basic performance indicators, and get to grips with auditing and proactive and reactive measuring.

Managing Safely is for managers and supervisors in any sector, and any organisation. It’s designed to get managers up to speed on the practical actions they need to take to handle health and safety in their teams, but in a refreshingly informal way.

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Why Emergency First Aid at Work training is vital

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First Aid at Work training is an integral part of any business – literally, it’s the law. Businesses must have at least one appointed first aider, who’s responsible for calling 999 in an emergency and making sure the first aid kit’s fully stocked.

Some businesses are required to have a trained first aider who’s completed an HSE approved course. Whether or not it’s mandatory depends on the business – but it’s something ALL businesses should consider.

On average, it takes 8 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. Eight minutes is a long time in a life or death situation. And that doesn’t account for getting to the phone and making the call in the first place.

A blocked airway can kill someone in 3-4 minutes. Clearing somebody’s airway is not a complicated task, but it is an incredibly important one, and it’s something many people don’t know how to do, or even that they should do it in the first place.

A first aid course ensures people know what their priorities should be in the event of an emergency – and clearing the airway is right up there.

Up to 150,000 people die every year who could have survived with first aid treatment.
That’s a lot of people dying unnecessarily. Do you want your employees to be among them? Even if your workplace is a relatively safe place to work, accidents can and do still happen, and some of them are life-threatening.

By training more employees in first aid at work than the absolute minimum legal requirement, you could potentially help save lives. And not just those that work for you either – once your employees have first aid training, they can use it anywhere.

Although life-threatening emergencies may not be common in the workplace, minor and major injuries are. Around 200,000 injuries occur in workplaces in the UK every year and a lot of time – and therefore money – could be saved if firms had somebody on hand who could provide the correct treatment.

And that’s where your employees trained in first aid come in: depending on the injury, they could negate the need for outside assistance at all.

Some 59% of employees wouldn’t feel confident trying to save someone’s life. This is a big deal. If only 41% of employees feel confident enough to try and save someone’s life in an emergency, you should hope they’re around when something goes wrong.

But, even more worrying, a third of employees said they would carry out first aid without proper training.

Feeling confident about carrying out life-saving first aid treatments, and actually having the ability to do so are different things entirely. And doing the wrong thing could actually make matters worse.

We can help you with things like this, such as our First Aid At Work programme which is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.

This type of qualification introduces candidates to the roles and responsibilities of a first aider; the legal requirements for first-aid provision; undertaking a primary survey; and when and how to call for help.

It also provides the opportunity to practice the skills needed to administer first aid to a casualty who is unconscious, not breathing, or suffering from a minor injury.

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Clear pathway to teacher qualifications chartered

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Recent reforms in the world of teaching qualifications have meant that a framework is now in place for a clear pathway to getting teacher qualifications.

There are now three courses which are designed for a variety of people, including anyone who has an interest in the education and training sectors and want to gain more of an overview of it, right through to staff who are engaged in teaching practice as part of their career, and are looking to achieve a recognised, accredited teaching qualification.

The basis of this framework is called Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector – or PTLLS for short – and is an introduction for those who wish to train or teach. This qualification will provide trainers, facilitators and teachers the abilities to support learners.

To undertake the PTLLS course you are not required to hold any specific prior teaching qualifications, and it’s a great way to find out if becoming a teacher or trainer is for you.

The PTLLS course is aimed at those who work, or want to work, as teachers, trainers or tutors in the Lifelong Learning Sector, which includes Adult or Community education, or as trainers of staff in retail, industry, public and voluntary sectors or the Army, or as support staff in education environments.

To achieve the PTLLS qualification, candidates must successfully complete both theory and practical assignments. The aims of the course covers the following areas:

  • develop an understanding of roles and responsibilities in relation to teaching
  • develop abilities to understand learners’ needs
  • develop abilities to work with others in supporting learners
  • selecting and implementing learning approaches
  • develop abilities to plan and deliver learning programmes
  • encourage and support the use of learning approaches to engage and motivate learners
  • develop an understanding of the need to maintain records

PTLLS is the new minimum requirement for people who wish to teach in post-16 education, and is the first step to a full teacher qualification. This is a short course designed as a basic introduction to teaching or training in the Lifelong Learning Sector. It introduces you to how to plan and deliver sessions, theories of learning, assessment strategies, working with individuals and groups and many aspects of  teaching and learning in this exciting and diverse sector.

It is a nationally recognised award which stands independently but is also an introductory module for those who may choose to continue to develop this as a career.

The programme is presented through a variety of methods, to allow you to experience different styles of teaching and learning. In the module you will learn how to plan, deliver, assess and evaluate learners and learning.

You will explore educational theory, reflect on your practice and keep a diary of your own development. You will be introduced to principles of learning and theorists and will have the opportunity to present to your peers, evaluate your own effectiveness and give feedback to others.

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