IOSH health and safety courses – developing new training for a tough-to-sell topic

Working for IOSH, the professional body for health and safety, I delivered a major revamp of two mature, established courses and created a brand new one.

My challenge was to come up with well-paced, interactive programmes with succinct, engaging content. Importantly, they had to defy the age-old health and safety stereotype – ‘dull and riddled with red tape’. And I needed to listen carefully to the trainers who presented the original courses and make sure that the new products met their needs

Key success components

• Detailed audience research – quantitative and qualitative research with trainers and delegates which showed demand for a new type of product that was “interesting, interactive and fun”

• Comprehensive communications and engagement programme – a careful marcomms plan to keep stakeholders involved and informed, using the company magazine, eshots and meetings

• Audience-centred content and delivery format – no more ‘death by PowerPoint’, lots of games, quizzes and challenges to keep delegates’ interest, as well as high quality workbooks, trainer notes and assessments

• Targeted use of technology – animation to bring presentations to life, interactive elements and an app

• Customisation – parts of the content were designed to be tailored to suit the sector and business

• Rigorous testing of beta products and full piloting of final versions – listening to feedback all the way, making sure that development was in tune with what audiences wanted

• Innovative launches – interesting venues, powerful speakers and fresh opportunities for stakeholders to get involved, giving the new products a great platform and plenty of profile

the result

Trainers were delighted with the new products, effectively becoming facilitators when delivering the courses. Delegates were positive too – feedback included: “Interactive quizzes and team-building activities had more impact on my memory”, “Outstanding materials” and “First time I’ve ever given an excellent grading”. Income from the three courses is a significant component of the £6 million yearly average generated for IOSH – the programmes are now delivered in more than 70 countries to around 166,000 delegates a year.

“Tracey isn’t afraid to push boundaries. Health and safety training is too often seen by delegates as boring – what Tracey does is fling open the door of opportunities with innovative, inspirational and delegate-friendly materials. She is extremely professional, knowledgeable and passionate about what she does. I would highly recommend her”

Paula Barlow - The Source Skills Academy, Meadowhall