Here at Course-Source we’ve seen a noticeable uplift in demand for high-quality, accredited safety training. Arguably many companies are now going beyond “box ticking” and are looking for training interventions that pack a more significant punch.

At the forefront of compliance delivery for quarter of a century, International Workplace has been “leading the charge” through innovative IOSH-endorsed eLearning that can be delivered via any LMS.

We asked International Workplace’s CEO, David Sharp, about their current approach and their take on today’s market for safety qualifications.

Course-Source: What drives the specific demand for IOSH training in particular (as opposed to other online health and safety training options)?

David: “The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is the Chartered body and largest membership organisation for safety and health professionals. It acts as a champion, adviser, advocate, and trainer for health and safety professionals in around 130 countries.

International Workplace has been an IOSH-approved training provider since 2004, recognising its international appeal, and the fact that all its courses lead to a qualification. In our experience, companies feel reassured that they are getting an internationally recognised qualification. IOSH allows us the flexibility to tailor its courses according to our learning design principles. This means we can provide a high-quality learning experience based on solid industry knowledge.

Course-Source: Has the pandemic impacted the requirements for this type of training or the way that it is consumed?

David: “The pandemic has certainly acted as a catalyst for organisations to think more holistically about their training programmes. Furlough schemes have arguably given staff more time to undertake training, and it’s definitely the case that more of a focus is being placed on health and safety and wellbeing – all of which are covered in the IOSH courses we run – as a result of increased homeworking.

The pandemic has also impacted the way we deliver IOSH training, with the vast majority of our training now being undertaken online or by virtual classroom.

Course-Source: In your experience, how do organisations most frequently get it wrong in their approach to health and safety training? How can they avoid these mistakes going forward?

David: “We are huge advocates of continuous learning. So often, organisations ask their staff to undertake yearly compliance training in order to tick a box. Employees are expected to fit this around their normal day-to-day job, often at short notice or during busy times of the year, and inevitably forget most of what they have learnt very shortly thereafter.

International Workplace’s approach is different, complementing our portfolio of IOSH courses with microlearning resources and training that works on a news-based agenda, to stimulate employee engagement and interest, and keep the knowledge fresh. Our trainers actively engage learners in interactive exercises, case studies, and scenario-based learning, rather than the traditional ‘chalk and talk’ approach. Health and safety training doesn’t have to be boring!

We’re also big believers in tailoring courses to individuals, rather than ‘one size fits all’. The IOSH approach works really well here as there are different courses for different levels of people in an organisation – from shop-floor workers, through to managers, and up to Board level. Courses are therefore pitched at the right level – and importantly at the right level of detail – for the intended audience. It’s much harder to get busy C-suite executives to do a three-day classroom course, so instead the Safety for Executives and Directors course strips out all but the most important information, resulting in a practical, high-level overview of the importance of health and safety.

Course-Source: What do you see are the emerging priorities for safety training and how are you addressing these needs?

David: “By far the biggest priority for employers right now should be ensuring their workers’ mental health and wellbeing. The pandemic has taken its toll on everybody, be they frontline staff, employees who have been furloughed, or people who have had to reskill and potentially change job role or even sector.

As we are starting to witness people coming back to work, there is a delicate balance to be struck between welcoming staff back to a ‘new normal’ and ensuring their safety and comfort.

Many employees will adopt a hybrid model of working partly from home, partly from the office or workplace, and it will be up to employers to ensure that everyone has the working environment that they need to work productively and safely. Our IOSH courses reflect this brave new world and focus on everything from ‘traditional’ health and safety to mental health and wellbeing, occupational health, and hybrid working. We expect to see employers putting a great deal of focus on this area, upskilling their staff (particularly line managers) to help them cope.

International Workplace’s online IOSH courses are available via Course-Source, including the latest IOSH course, Managing Occupational Health and Wellbeing. Please contact us for a quote to meet your exact requirements and to preview the courses on your LMS.