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Steve Terry

Understanding the Astutis Health, Safety and Environmental Training Report 2022-2023

February 2023

It was with great personal pleasure to announce the publication of the Astutis 2022-2023 Health, Safety and Environmental training report last month.

The research - which our in-house researchers at Astutis tirelessly conducted - highlights some fascinating insights gleaned from over 250 global industry professionals from various industries regarding their application of health, safety and environmental training in their organisation.

The report focuses on topics such as 'The Emergence of the Environmental Agenda, 'Current Trends in Health, Safety & Environmental Training', 'Mental Health and well-being' as part of the health & safety curriculum and 'The Future of Health, Safety and Environmental training'.

The research report is specifically designed to provide valuable insights for individuals seeking training, organisations choosing an activity, and providers looking to analyse and develop training for the future.

The annual report highlights attitudes, reflections and standards of global health, safety and environmental training. It aims to showcase emerging and declining trends, helping to paint a picture of the future of training in the virtual age.

Here is a snippet of what's included!

The Emergence of the Environmental Agenda

Environmental awareness has never been higher!

In last year's Astutis report, there was a surge in interest from organisations concerning environmental training. And a growing focus from global leaders, environmental member bodies and general society has increased the desire for businesses to act and combat their environmental damage even more.

In 2022, member associations such as the Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change designed a plan of action which pledged to meet 'Net Zero' carbon rates by 2050. The COP27 alliance meeting was seen to produce the most proactive commitments to environmental action than ever before. And the implementation and use of environmental policies within the political landscape notably increased. 

This is translated into action by the individual and organisations, reflected in this year's research results.

Encouragingly, over 52% of respondents state that their business has a proactive Net Zero plan, and 18% said their company is involved with sustainability programmes. 

27% of the companies surveyed stressed that the environment is a determining factor when choosing training, which clearly indicates training requirements in this field moving forward.

Current Trends in Health, Safety and Environmental Training

In brief, the global and national focus on our environmental crisis has undoubtedly caused an increase in awareness and, thus, demand from businesses for environmental courses and modules.

Similarly, the pandemic exponentially increased the need for digital training and the acknowledgement of mental health and well-being as a core business concern. 

Accreditation training bodies NEBOSH & IOSH continue to provide the most attractive and popular training courses, with over 76% using NEBOSH materials and 70% IOSH.

Live Virtual and Online Training

As a result of the pandemic, we saw a considerable rise in the use of virtual and online training in last year's report, and the increase has only gained pace this year. And as new technological innovations are continually being developed, we are in no doubt that the future of health, safety and environmental training will be delivered at an ever-increasing level by this medium. 

Our research shows that through virtual and online training, businesses are obtaining even higher levels of learner engagement and pass rates and improving their bottom line simultaneously. Thus virtual and online training continues to grow in this year's report, with live virtual training climbing to 52% and 83% of respondents declaring that most of their company training takes place online.

This clearly indicates that virtual and online training will continue to take market share away from classroom and vocational training methods.

Primary Objectives of HSE Training

Research from last year's report identified that 62% of respondents stated that one of their primary objectives of organisational HSE training was to improve attitudes and culture. The figure rose again this year to 69%, which shows that business has an increasing desire and need for such culture-based training.

50% of respondents also stated that 'Lower Accidents' was one of their primary objectives of health & safety training, 49% looked to 'Ensure Compliance', 47% cited 'Staff Development', and 33% judged their primary goal as 'to Improve Efficiencies'.

Our research showed that over 62% of respondents claimed incidents had decreased after training within their organisation.

Such statistics are not the be-all and end-all of the training effectiveness. However, this will always be a determining factor in evaluating HSE training for an organisation and a basis for management's decision to retain the services of a training provider.

Influencing Factors When Choosing HSE Training

In this year's report, our researchers were keen to discover the key influencing factors a company considers when choosing HSE training.

Courses that relate to the industry of the professional embarking on training maintain the number one spot with 62%. And it was immensely gratifying to see 'Learning Outcomes' in second place with 56%. This strongly correlates with organisations' progression towards improving individual and workforce development.

Turning Health and Safety into Health, Safety and Well-being

During the pandemic, employees' mental health and well-being was a highly discussed and debated issue that business could no longer ignore.

Some industry studies showed that the overwhelming consensus was that businesses had addressed this concern in the short term during the pandemic, but focus and resources had declined.

So I was delighted to see that this was not a sentiment shared or reflected in our research this year, with over 69% of respondents declaring that mental well-being support was still prioritised alongside health & safety practices.

This suggests that mental health and well-being awareness and support are being addressed within the business and incorporated into health and safety training.

The Future of Health, Safety and Environmental Training

One particular facet that we have been very keen to develop and maximise through our training courses is learner engagement. As we all know, learner engagement creates happy learners, which makes successful learners.

The learning development team at Astutis are constantly researching issues like information overload, which occurs when presenting too much information in large chunks and the learner becomes disinterested or disengaged with learning.

This can be addressed by using and applying such techniques as 'Micro-learning'. Microlearning is, in essence, the art of presenting complex information in smaller sections and bite-sized pieces of information which are much easier for the learner to digest.

Virtual Training

So what does training look like in the future?

Astutis have trialled VR (virtual reality) platforms to see whether such courses as the NEBOSH diploma would be compatible. And we were shocked at the ease of use and potential applications for hosting HSE training courses in this format.

For example, applying these innovative technologies within training - such as 'gamification' (the technique of tapping into the physiological instinct of competition) - can only positively affect learners and learning engagement.

The practical application of learning skills through VR can be another absolute winner for learners. Such courses as the NEBOSH fire certificate could harness the power of this technology by providing real-life training practises to combat fire risks in the workplace - all of which is a fascinating prospects for the future of HSE training.

In the next few months, Astutis will delve deeper into the specific requirements of learners and what the future of digitalised training may look like. We will be conducting research and presenting the 'Astutis Learner Report', where we will connect with learners to understand their training demands to produce the most learner-friendly courses possible.

A Brief Summary

The results from our study this year are immensely pleasing and very encouraging for individual learners, organisations and training providers alike.

In short, the research study confirms that digital training is constantly increasing, mental health and well-being have become a permanent feature of the health & safety syllabus, and environmental elements and training are now in growing demand.

This blog only highlights portions of the report. Please click the link below to view the full report and the statistics summary.

I would also like to convey that on the back of this report, Astutis is also taking positive environmental action. We have appointed two environmental champions within the business to achieve our own 'Net Zero' plans and are currently seeking sustainability verification from the 'Ethy Sustainability Standards Awards'.

We also support two charities, the 'Bumble Bee Conservation Trust' and the 'World Wildlife Fund Climate Recovery Project' - both worthy causes whose work in their fields is invaluable.

Our future is wholly dependent on the health of our planet. Therefore, we will continue to promote it as time goes on. 

On a personal note, I thank all the researchers at Astutis for producing this incredibly insightful report. And on behalf of myself and everyone at Astutis, I wish you all a very happy, safe and prosperous 2023.

 Steve Terry – Astutis Managing Director  

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