As 2016 continues apace you’ll probably begin thinking about what else you need to accomplish before year's end. But this list should be more than a set of objectives or goals – your plans 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.
As the economy spars with recession organisations are becoming slow to spend money or expand out of fear. Because of this it is even more important that you start your 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 rest of the year, and why. With this information you can determine how your business, and its skills, should move forward.
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 may have already been cut. But unfortunately the demands on the training organisation continue to be as they always have been. Cognitia Learning & Development takes time to analyse the current situation, and determine what training steps the organisation can take.
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.
Due to the increasingly strict safety measures being taken in the ever growing construction industry, CSCS cards have become the most popular method of proving you have the skills and qualifications needed to take on certain roles on a construction site. Here are 5 of the most important things to know about CSCS cards:
The CSCS card is the go-to card for those who work - or want to work - in the construction industry. If you need to know which card would be most suited to you, here’s a link to the CSCS card finder:https://www.cscs.uk.com/card-finder
Workplace injuries are indicative of breakdowns in basic processes and procedures that threaten the efficiency and financial health of an organisation.
That's the view of Cognitia Safety & Compliance, who said that effective health and safety training was the only way to combat the costs associated with bad practice.
Managing Director Nigel Lewis said: "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," he said.
Cognitia Safety & Compliance said that, 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.
Cognitia's Operations Director, Russell Lawson, said: "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," he said.
As recently as a decade ago the environmental management agenda was still regarded by many organisations as, at best, a fringe issue. However, with the effects of increased natural resource use is beginning to have a noticeable negative effect on the world’s climate, the green agenda is increasingly well recognised.
According to a recent Chartered Management Institute report, over 80 per cent of managers regard energy usage as an important issue to their business – and around two thirds of managers agree that carbon management will become increasingly important in the next three years.
The business case can be built on reduced energy and resource costs, increased innovation, and enhanced loyalty of customers and employees, showing benefits that might not be immediately apparent.
To be effective, however, companies must be genuinely committed to developing their environmental strategy, policy and actions. It is unwise to adopt a “green-washing” approach, whereby superficial compliance is shown by an organisation. Although this may provide benefits of the business case in the short term, it is very likely to result in increased stakeholder dissatisfaction, once exposed.
This is why our new course, which focuses on environmental management in the construction industry, is so important, and is aimed at workers who wish to increase their knowledge of good environmental working practice, and to develop an awareness of environmental issues that affects their organisation.
Our Site Environmental Awareness Training Scheme programme – or SEATS for short – shows that effective environmental management can bring many benefits to organisations, such as cost savings, a good corporate image and the attraction of new investment.
It is designed to meet the basic environmental knowledge that sub-contractor chains are required to prove to major contractors, and covers the environmental aspects of Health & Safety regulations. The course brings candidates a thorough overview of the subject, relevant legislation and industry best practice.
It will enable them to identify, control and minimise the environmental impacts of their work and, where possible, identify a range of environmental improvement opportunities.
Our course tutors are qualified and experienced, with an appropriate and wide background in environmental management and delivering engaging training.
SEATS is an accredited environmental training scheme for Site Supervisors and Site Managers, and is the environmental equivalent of the Site Supervisor Safety Training Scheme, or SSSTS.
The course was developed by members of the UK Contractors Group, which includes major building firms such as Costain, Skanska and Wates, as well as CITB-Construction Skills, and is managed and accredited by Site Safety Plus. The course has rapidly become a widely-accepted competence qualification within the industry.
It’s a requirement under UK health and safety law that all employees are given some health and safety training depending on the work that they do. The employer has a ‘duty of care’ to ensure, as far as possible, the health, safety and welfare of employees while they are at work and should start with a risk assessment to spot possible health and safety hazards.
They then have to appoint a ‘competent person’ with health and safety responsibilities, usually a member of staff trained in health and safety.
Health and safety regulations require employers to provide training to staff to enable first aid to be given to employees if they are injured or become ill at work. These regulations apply to all workplaces, including those with five or fewer employees. How much first aid provision an employer has to make depends on the circumstances of each workplace.
Cognitia Safety & Compliance has worked hard to create a course to make sure that we can cover all of these needs, which is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health – CIEH – and accepted by inspecting bodies such as the Health and Safety Executive.
This will make your key employees aware of key health and safety and will make sure you comply fully with workplace health and safety legislation.
The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 require employers to provide training to staff to enable first aid to be given to employees if they are injured or become ill at work. How much first-aid provision an employer has to make depends on the circumstances of each workplace.
In assessing needs, organisations should consider the nature of the work and workplace hazards and risks, the size of the organisation and the nature of the workforce, and the organisation’s record of accidents.
If, having assessed first-aid needs, you decide to appoint first aiders, then you need to make sure they have a valid certificate of competence. We can help you with things like this, such as our First Aid At Work programme which is accredited by Highfield ABC.
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 practise the skills needed to administer first aid to a casualty who is unconscious, not breathing, or suffering from a minor injury.
There is an ever-increasing demand for evidence of sound health and safety management on construction sites. Our Site Management Safety Training Scheme – or SMSTS for short – is a health and safety course which is intended for project managers, site managers and senior supervisors, as well as proprietors of smaller companies.
The SMSTS course will provide attendees with the knowledge required to comply with legislation and regulations regarding a construction site, such as the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
A broad range of topics are covered on SMSTS courses, such as undertaking suitable risk assessments for a construction site, scaffolding, electricity, confined spaces, and much more. This makes SMSTS training essential for construction site managers in order to comply with all associated legislation, as well as ensuring a safe construction site.
SMSTS courses also provide an excellent basis and foundation for further progression onto other courses and qualifications, with those obtaining an SMSTS qualification often going on to further study and qualifications such as the NEBOSH Construction Certificate.
At the end of the SMSTS course, delegates will be able to manage health and safety on site in accordance with the current legal provisions and legislation, as well as within the context of their particular management or supervisory roles.
Over ten thousand people from the construction community take the course every year. It is tailored for people with a level of responsibility in the construction sector or for people aiming to become site managers.
SMSTS courses are considered one of the best in giving people a thorough health and safety training background that is up-to-date with current legislation.
SMSTS is the industry recognised essential training for individuals with site management accountability, or businesses providing services to construction or civil engineering sites.
SMSTS training enables Managers to organise, monitor and measure health and safety performance on site, to establish and maintain safe systems and safe methods of work and to adhere to the relevant legislative requirements.
The Construction Regulations of April 2007 brought to the forefront the need for Health & Safety Training in the construction industry, it became vital that all Site Supervisors have up to date SSSTS Training, Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme Training.
Health & Safety Training is needed in all industries but in the construction industry perhaps more so being such a dangerous working environment for workers and the general public if sufficient training is not in place.
SSSTS Training is a course designed to give Site Supervisors the skills needed to both identify, monitor and prevent accidents in the workplace and potentially prevent prosecution by the HSE.
The construction training regulations require that all employers, business owners, managers in addition to supervisors are competent in Health & Safety issues for workers and the general public in their working environment. The SSSTS Course has been adopted by the construction industry and SSSTS Training has become necessary for all Site Supervisors.
If you work as a Site Supervisor then you need SSSTS Training. If you are the business owner or employer on a building site then you need to ensure your Site Manger has a current CITB SSSTS Certificate.
As you would imagine the SSSTS Course is designed to cover aspects of safety, with the emphasis being on providing Site Supervisors with the knowledge and skills to identify risk factors on the site that could put workers and the general public at risk. The training is geared towards giving Site Supervisors the sufficient skills to identify potential hazards and to enable them to take measure needed to remove these potential hazards from the work place.
One of the obvious potential benefits in SSSTS Training is the reduction in accidents and injuries in the construction workplace. A less obvious benefit is a reduction in lost man hours and production with another being the very real benefit of limiting your liability in the case of an accident or an injury as sufficient training measures are in place on your site.
The training will potentially not only limit the chances of an accident or injury but also reduce the possibility of legal action should such an accident occur.
SSSTS Training Courses are two days courses and are held in a classroom. The aims of the SSSTS Courses are to educate Site Supervisors in the correct Health & Safety Training procedures on site and how to ensure correct procedure is constantly put into practice by all site workers. Certification last 5 years.
We get asked this question a lot. Both are about health and safety on a construction site, and both are qualifications, introduced by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) in 2002 as part of the UK government’s policy of increasing health and safety awareness on sites.
But what exactly is the difference, and which course should you take – SMSTS or SSSTS?
The Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) is a course of education designed for managers in construction who are responsible for managing health and safety within a construction workforce.
The course is held over five days and is classroom based. It is suitable for any manager, however experienced, and is widely seen as a way to prove health and safety experience to help to get a promotion or a new managerial job.
You pass the course if you are successful with the exam and the course is a combination of case studies, group and individual exercises and presentations. The subject matter covers health and safety methods, risk assessments, excavations, demolition, scaffolding and Construction Design Management (CDM).
The Site Supervisor Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) is a two-day course and is designed for first appointment supervisors or those candidates looking to take up a first management role in construction.
The course is classroom-based and aims to explain the importance of effective risk assessments, the need for control measures, legal responsibilities and adherence to recent codes of practice. The key message in the course is the need for the supervisor to understand the need for good communication and clear health and safety policies.
There is a multiple choice exam and the successful candidates will receive a SSSTS card that they can use to show employers they they have the qualification.
Once passed the supervisor is able to progress to a Level 3 NVQ in construction site supervision, which is a really worthwhile step in furthering your career.
With both SMSTS or SSSTS there is a need for a refresher course. The SMSTS qualification expires after five years and the manager is required to attend a two-day refresher course and pass an exam. This course will cover latest legal developments and codes of practice and new construction industry issues.
The SSSTS qualification also expires after five years. Failure to attend the refresher course prior to the expiry of an existing certificate will require the delegate to re-enter the scheme by completing the full course again if they wish to remain in the scheme. The refresher course lasts one day.
In many cases once the SSSTS qualification is achieved the supervisor progresses to management level anyway.
The content covered in the courses differ between SMSTS and SSSTS qualifications. SMSTS is very focused on law, regulatory requirements and specific good practice as outlined by the Health and Safety Executive. The content on the SSSTS course is about increasing understanding and awareness for new managers. The key aim is to understand the need for good practice and what good practice is.
A key difference between SMSTS and SSSTS is the next step. The managers need the SMSTS to fulfil their role. The people achieving the SSSTS use the qualification to progress to a Level 3 NVQ and then, when promoted, the SMSTS itself.
With over 60 deaths a year in the UK construction industry there is an increasing need for better management and supervision in health and safety and this requires managers and supervisors to achieve identifiable qualifications.
In the UK, we are lucky to have one of the most diverse educational systems in the world, offering a huge amount of different opportunities to everyone, regardless of their interests. This can also pose a problem though – albeit a welcome one – in that many people simply don’t know where to turn when it comes to their next step on the educational ladder.
One of the big questions on many peoples’ lips is whether other options are actually as good as going back to college or university, and this is especially true when it comes to NVQs.
The first comparison to make between NVQs and academic qualifications is: which one will be of more value to an employer? NVQs are usually offered in specific areas and therefore they are incredibly valuable to employers in that area, but not the most useful outside of the niche. For example, an NVQ 5 in construction will be great when looking for jobs in that industry, but won’t help to gain employment in, for example, an office.
An NVQ is a National Vocational Qualification. It is a work-based qualification designed to measure competence in a professional role. An NVQ is different from a traditional taught course as it requires you to show what you currently do and how you have the underpinning knowledge necessary to do your work, as opposed to teaching and testing you on new knowledge. To prove their competence, candidates collect evidence from their workplace according to the National Occupational Standard (NOS) of the NVQ.
Taking the above into account, it shows that NVQs are the perfect step for those with a clear idea of what they want to do in life, particularly if they want to move on in their careers. Those with a vague idea of their future plans should opt for for something else to give themselves the flexibility to make the choice later on in life.
Completion of an NVQ shows your current and potential future employees that you are competent in your work and demonstrates an interest in continued development, improving your employability.
The UK government has an ongoing campaign to raise the value of NVQ’s relative to a degree and A-levels. If you ask most University lecturers, they’ll tell you that an NVQ 4 is equal to an ordinary degree. The following should be treated as a rough comparison guide:
NVQ 1 = GCSEs D – G
NVQ 2 = GCSEs A* – C
NVQ 3 = A Levels
NVQ 4 = HNC/HND/Degree
NVQ 5 = PHD
Everyone knows that qualifications such university degrees are now incredibly expensive, with a three year course often costing around £27,000 in tuition fees alone – something that makes education prohibitively expensive for many. NVQs, on the other hand, are are extremely good value for money and therefore offer a realistic opportunity for many. It goes without saying that an NVQ represents a much easier choice in terms of financial outlay.
Once an NVQ has finished, there is also no need to pay back any large loans, which can cripple students for many years after qualification. Of course, these loans can be worth it for many who move into lucrative industries, such as law and banking, but for others the cost doesn’t represent a good investment. Therefore, an NVQ is the best choice – the choice that won’t leave you with massive debts that potentially can’t be paid off for years.
NVQs are designed to be practical courses with a more hands-on element, while qualifications such as degrees are academic and almost entirely classroom based. It isn’t wrong to say that many people simply don’t flourish in classrooms and fail to show their full potential, and if this sounds like you, an NVQ should be a much better choice. They are also much less intense, therefore they are perfect for those who don’t want to be in full-time education anymore.
It should be remembered that NVQs go all the way up to NVQ 8 level, which is the equivalent to PhD level, therefore candidates studying at this level will have a much larger workload. For most though, NVQ 5 is the highest they’ll work to – still about the equivalent to an undergraduate degree – and due to the longer amount of time taken to gain compared to a degree and the amount of on-the-job assessment, it still means that the workload is often less.
Therefore, it is safe to say that an NVQ is perfect for those who don’t see themselves as quite “academic” enough to head to university. This is in no means a criticism though, as everyone has their own set of skills to offer the world – an NVQ can often be the key to unlocking specific skills as part of a great career.
In conclusion, it is fair to say that most people find the chance of having BSc or BA after their name to be an attractive lure – one that often sways them away from NVQs and towards the more expensive and more intense world of undergraduate study. The fact is though that, for many people, an NVQ represents the chance to get on in their career in a specific industry, and to become a leading specialist in this industry over time – something that can lead to great prestige and monetary reward.
The choice simply comes down to your own preferences and dreams. If you are a practical person with a clear goal in life, an NVQ is a great choice; if you prefer to keep your options open and study a more general curriculum, an undergraduate degree well be the way to go.
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