LFB accelerates learning for more with less

Published:  28 September, 2011

There is continually pressure on all emergency services to do more with less resources. When Philip Evans, from the London Fire Brigade’s Station Training Support and Performance Team based at Harrow, was tasked with improving the consistency, efficiency and delivery of training across the Brigade an unexpected benefit was a saving of hundreds of thousands of pounds a year.

Phil has been a trainer for many years and still an active firefighter. When he was asked to create a centrally co-ordinated training programme to increase the knowledge-levels across the Brigade, he thought that a blended strategy incorporating e-learning and classroom-based training would be a practical solution.

His e-learning solution, developed using Information Transfer’s Seminar Author and delivered via the Seminar Knowledge Centre, was recognised by Mayor of London Boris Johnson with the Brigade’s Special Achievement Award earlier this year.

Phil explains why the solution was needed: “With over 100 stations and four watches at each station, there is a potential for over 450 different versions of training on the same subject.  There was a need to hold the content centrally so that management could be confident that all teams had access to the most up-to-date information.”

Phil’s team develops the content for the training in house. Courses are then hosted online in the Knowledge Centre, also supplied by Information Transfer, and are accessible to all employees within LFB. By using Seminar, LFB can disseminate safety and mission-critical information to over 5,000 staff within 12 weeks.

Phil explains that e-learning allows crew and watch managers to go at their own pace. If they are called to a ‘shout’ they can leave the training and resume it at a later date. Hosting the training on the central Knowledge Centre has provided a major benefit, enabling managers to access the latest information and ensure consistency in the training delivery. It is also possible to monitor progress of learners.

Introduced just two years ago, e-learning now saves the Brigade on average £700,000 a year through reduced classroom time and greater throughput of delegates through the ‘Supervisory Management Course’.

The success of the e-learning, and the capability for people to rapidly incorporate their knowledge into a training package, has stimulated interest from other departments. It has been widely adopted for a range of training needs, including management development, equality and diversity, IT support and operational improvement.

For example, all staff, both uniformed and Fire Rescue Service (FRS) support staff, have quality and diversity training.

This was a two day classroom course and it has now been migrated to an e-learning course with a single classroom session. It only took three weeks to develop the content.

Clare Wolfenden, programme manager, Leadership and Management Development Team, London Fire Brigade, says: “Introducing e-learning has reduced our workshop from a two day course to a one day course. Candidates are required to complete the e-learning before they attend the classroom session and this includes all of the legislative and policy information that they need to know. The content is then brought to life at a one-day workshop.

“Course days have been reduced by half, which means that we have reduced the amount of time spent on training by both trainers and candidates. This is more efficient use of everyone’s time and a major cost saving. Dropping to a one day course has saved the Authority 528 training days for candidates and 48 trainer days per financial year.”

  • Operation Florian

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