You won't learn the first thing about being a bartender if your training doesn't put you behind an actual bar. So why should work health and safety training be any different?
Many people think about training as something that happens in a classroom or in front of a computer. Such a view hamstrings any effectiveness. One of the most crucial steps of any training course is taking everything learned and bringing it back into the workplace.
This philosophy is one of the foundations of the LMIT vision, and is exemplified in our five-day Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety course, which illustrates the importance of a blended approach to training.
An effective mix through blended training
One of the key strengths of the Certificate IV face-to-face course is its combination of the convenience of distance learning with the effectiveness of in-person instruction.
Ken Golden – the designer, developer and trainer for the Certificate IV and other safety courses at LMIT – has more than two decades of experience in workplace health and safety. In that time, he has helped deliver the value of face-to-face learning.
"A greater level of detail and understanding is achieved because participants bring their own work and life experiences."
"The advantage is that a greater level of detail and understanding is achieved. This is because participants bring to the learning environment their own work and life experiences," he says.
"Through teaching by the facilitator and personalised Q&A sessions, learners gain a deeper understanding of the topic."
With the Certificate IV course, once the classroom-based sessions are completed, participants return to their organisations to complete assignments by applying their knowledge in a familiar and relevant environment. This is instrumental in solidifying the learning and helps reinforce the connection between what was learned and how it fits into a job site.
"Training in a workplace allows for contextualisation of the topic to the actual work being done. Where possible, any training delivered should be related back to the task or job," Ken notes.
They have a six-month period to complete these assignments, but that does not mean that their training has been concluded. It carries over far beyond the course timeframe.
Bringing training beyond the classroom
An important thing to remember is that training isn't just courses people take, it's all the knowledge they gain. As such, the responsibility that comes with training carries over once a participant is back in his or her workplace. This includes making sure that all employees actively contribute to a positive safety culture instead of simply complying with relevant legislation.
"Yes, there is legislation, and yes, there are policies and procedures that are needed, but how is it we can do this on a practical basis?" Ken asks.
"When I'm talking legislation, I'll always say this is what the law looks like and it tells us what to do, but how does this translate to something practical on the floor? Can we do it in a practical way, rather writing another piece of policy and sticking it in a book."
This approach serves to solidify the lessons learned so that they remain at the front of participants' minds, enabling them to put what they've learned into place for many years to come.
The organisation's obligation
Maximising the utility of such crucial training is not just on the employee – workplace leaders also have a role in helping to implement a safety-conscious culture. Rising to this duty has a carry-on effect for the rest of the organisation.
"There is a transfer of that energy into the workers."
"If you have got a company leader who has got the energy and is saying that they want you to get these people trained, there is a transfer of that energy into the workers, and they get supported," Ken says.
This helps to ingrain all employees with a sense of the importance of safety policies. Effectively, the benefits of training one worker permeate the entire organisation.
Harnessing training for the future
It is a mistake to think of training as just the hours spent learning. Training is not only a course by itself; it is everything learned in those sessions – the knowledge, skills and awareness. When we look at training this way, it becomes clear that it doesn't just happen once. Instead, it must be put into practice, reflected upon and – most importantly – refreshed.
"Training needs to be followed up no matter where it is done. Many times the worker is sent to a learning opportunity but, on return, there is no contact with their manager to ascertain how the training will be utilised," Ken notes
"If managers took the time to ask this question, "What are the key learning outcomes you identified during the training and how can we apply to our workplace?", then we have a training transfer from the learning environment to the workplace."
Effective training must not lose sight of the connection to a learner's workplace – before, during and after the course has concluded. For more information about the Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety and other programs, contact LMIT today.
Published by: LMIT