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Case Study: Health and Safety Training at Scottish Power


Scottish Power is an international energy company providing electricity and/or gas services to around six million homes and businesses in the UK and the western US. Scottish Power has long made use of tutor led training in the classroom alongside generic on-line courses. However, with increasing pressures on staff time, a consequent rise in course cancellations, and training costs meant something clearly had to be done to improve both learning and cost effectiveness.

As part of its decision to use e-learning, ScottishPower tried the concept on several groups of unsuspecting learners.

Jackie Henry, E-Learning Manager, explained: "We wanted to find out how effective e-learning was as a delivery mechanism so we first tried it out on a number of courses by dividing delegates into two groups. One group went out of the classroom to try out a pilot e-learning module while the other half stayed in the classroom.

"When we compared their final assessments, our analysis showed that overall the individuals using e-learning had on average scored 10% higher compared to the non e-learning group. In addition, they completed the material in only half of the time. These results seemed to indicate that e-learning might be able to make a significant contribution to improving learning effectiveness in several ways."

Having invited a number of e-learning providers to present their products and services, chose BrightWave.

ScottishPower has since developed over 20 courses on subjects such as IT security, health and safety and customer service. These courses have been deployed and tracked in detail using the WavePool Tracking System, which complements the in-house Learning Management Systems.

Health and safety training
To support the company’s aim to be ‘best in class’ regarding the health and safety of its employees, the learning team were requested to develop a new health and safety programme.

Launched to coincide with European Health and Safety Week, the mandatory programme was developed to reinforce the crucial role Health and Safety plays within the organisation. The interactive course provides training on emergency and security procedures, best health & safety practice and employee responsibilities so that staff can protect themselves, their colleagues and customers. At the end of the programme employees are required to pass an assessment to demonstrate appropriate knowledge of health and safety.

The programme was initially aimed at all new employees entering the Customer Sales and Service business, covering mostly call centre staff. Over a period of three months some 500 staff of all ages and a variety e-learning/IT experience had successfully undertaken the programme. It is now an established and significant part of the business’s induction process.

Structure and content
Day one:
* Employees watch a seven-minute online audiovisual presentation detailing emergency and security procedures featuring both the managing director and the health and safety manager.
* Employees receive a security badge via a link to the business intranet.

Within three months:
* Employees are required to undertake the full one-hour course, outlining good health and safety practices and employee responsibilities. They have to achieve 70%+ pass rate at an assessment stage as well as completing a workstation assessment.

“By using this approach we were able to introduce key personnel such as the managing director and health and safety manager to new staff straight away,” said Jackie. “It also helps us reinforce our corporate culture in several ways by for example, introducing an e-learning approach to development as well as highlighting the importance of a health and safety culture.”

Other benefits of this approach include making the course available on an ongoing basis for reinforcement, and having a detailed tracking tool for ongoing assessments and post-incident records.

“Because we are now experienced in developing e-learning and know the critical success factors, we were able to develop the health and safety course in only 27 days,” said Jackie.

The programme was launched on time and within budget, and has received extremely positive feedback from both senior management and participants.

Following the programme’s success and forecasting a significant return on investment (ROI), senior management have therefore extended the project scope and it is now in the process of being rolled-out to the remainder of the business’ 4,700 employees. Other businesses within the group are also showing interest.

“We have had an impressive 70% return on investment for this project alone,” explained Jackie. “The ROI has been calculated as cost-saving in comparison to the tutor-led alternative, with a total anticipated cost-saving of well over £200,000.”

In fact, the extent to which the e-learning team is able to control all aspects of company learning programmes has exceeded all expectations. Jackie commented, “We were impressed at the ease and flexibility with which web-based training can be developed. It has helped us to create less expensive courses much faster than if we had outsourced the work. After all, we already work closely with the subject matter experts in-house and can get their input as soon as we need it.”

The future
After going through quite a steep learning curve with some technical teething problems, ScottishPower are now comfortably using WavePool to develop their e-learning courses.

Jackie commented, “Throughout the e-learning journey we have improved our courses in line with the feedback we have received so that we can now say that e-learning is accepted as a viable training option for ScottishPower as a company.”

This fits with ScottishPower’s learning philosophy to use the most effective learning and development tools in order to support the company’s clear strategic aim: to become a leading international energy company.


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