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Can train, will train

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Living in lockdown is tough – and that’s a huge understatement if ever there was one. Trying to manage work and family and relationships all while trying to maintain some semblance of normality can be extremely challenging. Yet, in the most part, we are coping.


We have an increased sense of what it means to be part of a community. We’re trying harder to help our friends and neighbours. And we all have an expanded lexicon. We now know what it means to be furloughed and what Zooming is. Some of us may even be able explain the difference between a ventilator and a respirator or what a cytokine storm is.

And then there’s the technology. When I had my first job, I still lived at home with my parents. I can remember calling my mum on the way home one day (back when that was all you could do on a mobile phone) and asking her to record a TV programme for me. I asked her several times to check that she was recording the right channel.

She confirmed that she “definitely was” as she could see it on the TV. Yet when I got home, the TV was on Channel 4 and the VCR was recoding BBC Two. And that was how my mum was with technology. She even quite enjoyed being like that, I think.

Except now, in her seventies, she’s not like that anymore. She’s become an expert in Zoom and FaceTime and various social media platforms, and she has no trouble operating her devices. This transformation took place overnight – just like that. And this is what we are all like. Once the resistance to change is removed, the change is rapid.

The British Safety Council has changed too. A month ago, we had never taught an online class. We’ve offered online training for many years but not using real live tutors in virtual classrooms. Now, with no option to teach in our training centres, all our face-to-face classes are delivered that way – virtually.

The response has been fantastic. Our current cohort of NEBOSH Diploma students were the first to be taught virtually, having already started their course in the classroom. They described the experience as just like being in the real classroom – even describing it as a win-win as there was no need for a commute and it’s better for mental wellbeing.

All our face-to-face classes at the British Safety Council are now delivered virtually

Training is something that almost anyone can do during lockdown. Furloughed workers can’t work for their employer, but they can still undertake training and it may be a great opportunity to learn new skills or gain qualifications. The same is true for those who may have already booked to go on a classroom course or were thinking about studying beforehand. Now is a great opportunity to learn something new.

So, what is Live Online training? It’s just that – you join a virtual classroom with other students and the tutor. Instead of having to get up and travel to one of our training centres, you can study the exact same course from the comfort of your own home.

You can join the live sessions using a PC, a laptop or even a mobile tablet. Everyone can see each other and interact in real time. The tutor can show PowerPoint slides, videos and the whiteboard, and switch seamlessly between any of them.

They can facilitate the same discussions and answer the same questions as in any face-to-face classroom. All the course resources are easy to access too, and you can test your knowledge at the end of each day with interactive exercises and assessments. Of course, we still offer our regular online training too for students who want to study on-demand, in their own time and at their own pace.

To help support firms and individuals at this difficult time, we have made some of our online training courses available free of charge. With many more people now working at home it’s important that they assess their new work environments from a health and safety perspective. Our Remote Workers Health, Safety and Welfare course will help you to assess the risks of home working and other forms of working remotely.

We’ve also made a range of our mental health courses available for free in partnership with our sister charity, Mates in Mind. Our Mental Health Awareness course aims to get people talking about mental health and our Managing Mental Health course helps line managers and mental health champions support the mental health of their friends and colleagues.

We also have two stress management courses freely available. Stress Awareness helps individuals reduce and manage their own stress and our Managing Stress Within Your Team course helps line managers and covers the HSE’s Stress Management Standards. All these courses are video-led and fully interactive. The Stress Awareness course also includes an audiobook version.

You can visit our website to gain access to any of our free resources or book onto one of our Live Online classes. All our self-paced online training can be found there too.

British Safety Council Live Online training courses here 

James Mansbridge is Head of digital learning at the British Safety Council

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