Innovation in remote training

Stewards and safety reps have had induction training via a distance learning course

Innovation in remote training

In a first for the CSP, more than 40 stewards and safety reps have completed their induction training via a distance learning course, developed in response to Covid-19. With all face-to-face reps’ training cancelled due to the pandemic, the CSP’s employment relations and union services (ERUS) training team developed two new induction courses to enable reps to receive training on their role.

The courses covered activities on the role of the steward and safety rep, legal rights, supporting members and accessing support from the CSP and were a mixture of self-pacing learning and a series of Zoom events. Both courses are fully accredited by the National Open College Network and the TUC, meaning that reps will receive nationally recognised credits for their studies.

Louise Walker, head of training in ERUS said: ‘It is essential that, despite Covid-19, CSP stewards and safety reps are still able to access training and support from the CSP. The new distance induction courses means that reps can still gain the essential knowledge to enable them to carry out their role.’

Beneficial for reps

Gwion Pugh-Jones a steward at Bronglais Hospital, Hywel Dda health board said: ‘The whole course was beneficial in understanding our role as stewards. I felt it developed my knowledge of policies and the application of these policies within certain situations within the workplace.

I gained valuable skills and methods to respond to the requirements of my role, and how to carry out stewards’ tasks: for example, mapping the membership locally and working with managers. By making the content paper-based, I was able to reflect on the topics learned and refer to these as required. Additionally, the group Zoom calls were beneficial to solidify learning and answer any questions.’

Joshua Meadows, safety rep at Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Trust said: ‘The resource manual and workbook were fantastic. The fact the CSP turned around an online course in the middle of a pandemic was brilliant.’

Further courses to come

Due to the success of the new courses, a further two courses will be taking place in the autumn and a Moodle distance learning course is being developed which will allow students to access the induction courses digitally via the CSP Learning Hub. At least 55 reps are expected to undertake the training this year.

In addition to national induction courses, the CSP normally holds two to three training days in the English regions and countries throughout the year and these were put on hold with the Covid-19 outbreak. Regular Zoom meetings have since been held to exchange information but formal training was frozen. However, this month the ERUS team will start work on developing a distance learning package focused on race discrimination in the workplace that will be delivered using digital technologies to workplace reps.

Blended approach

The CSP will be sharing its innovations at a regular round-table of AHP unions comprising organisers this month. All unions have been working in new ways to engage and support members and reps since the Covid-19 lockdown. Affiliation to the TUC and its Digital Lab is also giving the CSP access to cutting edge approaches adopted by the wider trade union movement and like-minded campaigning NGOs, brought in by the digital team at Congress House.

‘Exchanging ideas and learning from practice in remote and digital learning to support workplace reps and organising is crucial. There are certainly some things we and other unions have done that we will continue doing because they improve access and quality of training for reps and members.

‘At the CSP we expect to take a much more ‘blended approach’ to training and organising in the future,’ says Louise Walker. 

Be part of the CSP workplace team

We can only provide the kind of support we do in the workplace if we have a strong CSP workplace team of stewards, safety reps and increasingly workplace contacts.

Now, more than ever, workplaces need reps to help ensure that the work environment is a safe place for staff. We are asking all members to consider becoming a steward, safety rep or workplace contact.
Stewards and safety reps will receive training and all reps will receive support and guidance on what tasks you could focus on during Covid-19.

Another way the CSP has been supporting reps is through eBites, which were first launched in 2017. Take-up of the e-learning package has accelerated since the lockdown in March with 500 reps completing the two eBites ‘Getting Started First Steps for Stewards’ and ‘Getting Started First Steps for Safety Reps’ by May. The latest are ‘Your CSP -A guide to the CSP’s democratic structures and networks’ and ‘Getting Started –First Steps for Workplace Contacts’, and accessible via the CSP Learning Hub.

If you are interested then speak to the CSP steward in your workplace if you have one, or find out more information here.

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