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COVID-19: How it Changed Training Survey Results

How COVID-19 has changed training - Survey results

We surveyed MRS Training & Rescue customers to find out how COVID-19 (Coronavirus) affected their business, employees, and training plans.  

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we lived and worked, and although restrictions are easing, safety measures are still required to limit and reduce the spread of the virus. In March 2020, the UK government introduced strict lockdown measures which resulted in many businesses having to temporarily close or change their working practices. For many, whilst this affected training plans, it hasn’t hugely changed things as much as you might think.

Health and safety certifications required for work in industries such as construction, transport, infrastructure development, farming, and utilities were extended to reduce the impact of lockdown measures on those who’s certification was due to expire during the lockdown period.

Many of the awarding bodies extended the validity of certificates expiring during the lockdown. City & Guilds announced that training certificates that expired after the 1st March 2020 would be valid until September 2020, the Global Wind Organisation (GWO) extended certificates for 60 days and EU Skills extended all EUSR PLUS registrations by three months. PASMA too offered a 90-day extension to current cardholders and the HSE extended the validity of first aid certificates until 30 September. All allowing employers and training providers to change training procedures to ensure they were COVID-19 safe and enable renewals to be completed in the normal way.

As September 2020 approaches employers and individuals with expired certificates need to prepare for retraining so they are still able to work safely and within regulations.

Surveying training customers 

To understand if COVID-19 has changed employers’ requirements when it comes to health and safety training, we surveyed over 100+ MRS Training & Rescue customers.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Training Survey - Two-thirds said training was interrupted

79% say COVID-19 completely or partially interrupted employee training

To understand how the pandemic and lockdown affected our customers, we first asked about whether the training interrupted training plans, and if training continued – what affects lockdown had on the training itself.

The initial lockdown measures required that all but key workers stayed at home. This resulted in many businesses having to ask employees to work from home or temporarily pause operations.

Committed to doing what was right both socially and morally to protect each other by curbing the spread of the Coronavirus, MRS temporarily closed 5 of our 7 training centres, with just our centres in Mansfield in Nottinghamshire and Crossgates in Fife remaining opening to support the MOD in specialist rescue and safety critical work.

30% couldn’t find suitable online training

To understand how COVID-19 affected the training plans of our customers, we asked why their training was disrupted. The top answers were that they were unable to find a training provider (as a result of lockdown measures) or that there was no suitable online training.

80% said they are likely to book training in the next 6 months

As life starts to get back to some kind of normal it is good to know many businesses are back at work and continuing where they left off before COVID struck. 75% of those businesses surveyed said they would be booking the same or more training going forwards. But what things are businesses now prioritising?

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Training Survey - 80% to Book Training in the Next 6 Months

75% need future training to reduce social contact

Perhaps unsurprisingly, of those who said they needed different ways to deliver training in the future, online learning programmes were the strong preference (45%). And of those, 75% quoted needing to reduce social contact as the main reason for this.

MRS Training & Rescue has introduced a wide range of safety and social distancing measures to ensure all our training is COVID-19 safe. These include:

  • Training has been adapted and numbers reduced on courses to ensure social distancing is maintained
  • We have increased the amount of equipment available to eliminate the need to share
  • Our sanitation processes has been reinforced to reduce the risk of transfer.
  • All worn PPE is placed in its bag by the wearer at the end of each day and then placed into a further disposable bag and tied off. This avoids multiple handing of the PPE.

For more information, please read our COVID-19 safe training FAQs.


87% still feel there is a requirement for face-to-face training in the future  

Looking to the future, the survey showed that many people feel face-to-face training is still important. 87% of those who responded said that they felt there would be a requirement for face-to-face training at MRS Training & Rescue centres, in the future. With 56% of these highlighting, they didn’t feel practical training and assessments could be completed online due to the need to be assessed for competency.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Training Survey - 87% still need face to face training

Regulations state people should be supervised until deemed competent to do a job on their own. For confined space training, the awarding organisation i.e. City & Guilds, states that learners must be directly observed and cannot be classed as competent to work safely on their own via just ‘remote’ observation. So confined space training assessments must be done face-to-face.

It is Awarding Organisations and Trade bodies who dictate how assessments take place.

The Future of Training

This survey has shown that businesses still value face to face training but that the market for online training alternatives is growing.

Our Live Online Medium Risk Confined Space course is our first venture into this market so we will continue to trial this and look at further online alternatives in the future.

Full Survey Results

Q1 Has the delivery of staff training been interrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

  • Yes completely – 35%
  • Partially 44%
  • No – 15%
  • Not applicable – 6%

Q2 If training has continued during the COVID-19 pandemic, what challenges did you face? 

  • Sourcing suitable online training – 27%
  • Finding a training provider – 30%
  • Convincing staff that it is safe to attend face to face training – 23%
  • No issues – 30%
  • Other – 17%

Q3 How likely are you to book health and safety training in the next 6 months?

  • Extremely likely – 36%
  • Very likely – 18%
  • Somewhat likely – 26%
  • Not so likely – 10%
  • Not at all likely – 10%

Q4 Have your requirements for the way training is delivered changed as a result of COVID-19?

  • Yes – 44%
  • No – 56%

Q5 From the following options, what has had the biggest impact on how future training is delivered?

  • Need to reduce social contact – 75%
  • Need to reduce travel – 0%
  • More staff working from home – 15%
  • My priorities have not changed – 5%
  • Other – 5%


Q6 Thinking about future training you require, what are you likely to need more of:

  • Face to face training at our premises – 25%
  • Face to face training at an MRS training centre – 30%
  • Live Online training – 30%
  • eLearning -10%
  • Other – 5%
     

Q7 Do you feel practical / in-person training is still necessary post COVID-19?

  • Yes – 96%
  • No – 4%
     

Q8 Please select why you feel this to be the case:

  • Not all topics can be covered online – 64%
  • More useful – 16%
  • More effective – 44%
  • No distractions / easier to keep focused – 28%
  • Unable to complete practical training / assessments online – 56%
  • Other – 5%
     

Q9 Will you book training more or less frequently as a result of COVID-19?

  • Same – 89%
  • More – 1%
  • Less – 10%

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