Training and education are key to the future success of any industry and providing personal development opportunities, especially during these tough times, is imperative. We sat down with our Learning Development Coordinator, Keith Ward, to talk about EPC-UK’s offering and its plans for the future of training delivery.
What is your job role and what are your responsibilities?
I am EPC-UK’s Learning Development Coordinator and I am responsible for curating our course programme and promoting it to the industry. My role is extremely varied, from creating course timetables, maintaining detailed records and ensuring legal requirements are met, to assisting students and developing new initiatives.
I have been in the position for nearly two years and over that time the entire ‘Training Team’ has been working hard to create an industry leading educational programme, from our ever popular Blasting courses to more specialised HR Best Practice and Health and Safety courses. Together we have developed content that is renowned for being comprehensive, relevant, and up to date, and which is delivered by leading experts within their fields. However, we never rest on our laurels and we want to ensure we not only maintain this quality of delivery but move it forward.
How has EPC-UK evolved its training offering during the COVID-19 pandemic?
EPC-UK has traditionally provided classroom and site-based courses, which have proved extremely successful. However, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting social distancing regulations, meant that we could not run these courses in that format, for the foreseeable future.
Webinar-based courses have always been part of our plan for the continued development of EPC-UK’s training offering, but the pandemic gave us the impetus to launch the resource early. Our ‘Lifelong Learning Live’ initiative is a programme of our most popular courses that have been adapted for this online timetable. It is enabling people to continue their education and career development in the safety of their own homes, negating the need to travel and helping attendees abide by social distancing rules.
Has this evolution proved popular?
Very! In addition to keeping attendees and our own team safe during these uncertain times, the ‘Lifelong Learning Live’ programme is opening ours courses to a much wider audience. Those people who have not previously been able to attend one of our site-based classes – maybe due to location or time restraints – now have access to a suite of courses wherever they are in the world. Due to the nature of the webinars, which are not only delivered ‘live’ twice a week but also recorded, attendees can also study at their own pace and in their own time, repeating modules if they need to.
What are the benefits of the ‘Lifelong Learning Live’ training courses?
There are myriad benefits to our ‘Lifelong Learning Live’ programme. In addition to the two mentioned previously – the ability for attendees to learn wherever they are and whenever they chose – the webinar courses are delivered over a longer period of time with all sessions being recorded, giving students more time to study and absorb course content.
Three mock exams are included in all our webinar courses, each helping to guide attendees through the exam process, as well as highlighting areas which may need a bit more work. Course material and study guides are also available electronically, meaning they can be stored and accessed at any time.
What is the future of training at EPC-UK?
EPC-UK has been moving towards a ‘blended learning’ approach to its training for a while – with the aim of combining classroom and site-based lessons, webinars, and augmented reality to create a comprehensive and accessible suite of courses. The introduction of webinars is just the first step in this journey.
The success of our ‘Lifelong Learning Live’ programme has confirmed that this is the future of training in our industry. We want to ensure as many people as possible have access to our industry-recognised courses and we’re confident a ‘blended’ approach is the way to achieve this. The addition of PayPal to our website is also making the process of booking EPC-UK courses easier and more efficient.
Now, more than ever, we need to ensure our industry is nurturing and developing talent, and one way of doing this is through the provision of quality training and education. EPC-UK is passionate about this and will continue to work hard to develop new and innovative ways of supporting the industry during these challenging times and beyond.