Expert View

Why online training is the perfect fit for the forecourt

19 December 2018

Neil Simms (Suresite) and Tom Fender (Bolt) discuss the benefits of online training for forecourts

The health and safety requirements for petrol filling station staff cover a wide range of potential situations. As well as the obvious duties relating to reducing fire, explosion and environmental risks – and dealing with non-compliance from customers – consideration has to be given to the large number of goods available, including age-restricted items such as alcohol, cigarettes and lottery tickets, along with allergen training requirements that go hand-in-hand with food sales.

With such a variety of regulations to consider, it’s important that employees are fully up to date with requirements. Research shows that petrol stations perform poorly in mystery shopper tests for underage alcohol sales, with a pass rate of only 81% in a survey carried out by retail age check company Serve Legal in 2017.

That’s why Suresite teamed up with Bolt Learning, to develop an online suite of high-impact and engaging training modules that employees can access at any time on a range of devices, including mobiles. An added benefit of the training is it offers a high-level of reporting and analytics that managers can use to identify, in real time, which elements their employees have completed, where they may be struggling and any common areas that may require improvement.

Because managers can see where employees may require guidance, it allows them to observe their daily tasks and assist where necessary. Although the course is online, this instant feedback helps employees feel supported and apply what they’re learning ‘on the job’, rather than trying to digest large amounts of information away from the workplace, then trying to remember it days, weeks or even months later.

Managers can also access the training and work through the system, so they can be sure all the essential elements are covered.

There are five basic principles for effective online learning:  the ability to complete it on any device at a time convenient to the trainee; content and graphics that are effective on a mobile phone (45% of online learning is now accessed on a mobile); interactive activities that are repeated to reinforce learning; modules that are not too easy to pass – the best way to learn is to fail and start again; and effective reporting so managers can quickly identify problem areas.

The interactive activities ensure that people have learned and understood the training – a method which has been proved to be more effective than simply listening to a half-day session of information delivered in a classroom-based environment or completing an online training course that requires several sessions of two or more hours at a time.

Of course, for those who prefer more traditional learning styles, one-to-one or group training delivered by a Suresite health and safety expert is still available on your site. But a bonus of our online learning platform is that employees can access modules in short bursts – as little as five or 10 minutes at a time, perhaps during gaps in customer sales or during breaks – to supplement or refresh their knowledge.

Our new online courses have far higher levels of activity built into them than regular online training or face to face sessions. The user registers with a code, which takes just a few seconds, and the modules they receive are then unique to them. Each time they log on, the system will remember where they were up to, so they can pause and come back to it at any time.

Managers can see which elements of the training their staff have accessed, as well as who is compliant in each requirement and who may be struggling in a particular area. The online training platform gives managers a digital trail and evidence of all training which has taken place should they be required to prove compliance. They can also access reports within seconds, so if the police or local authority enforcement officers require evidence of competence or training, it’s immediately available.

According to the 2018 ACS Local Shop report, store staff rate training as the most valuable staff benefit, but one in five retailers say that their full-time staff receive less than 10 hours training in a typical year, and one in five carry out no induction training for new starters. Nearly a third of retailers say that they find training a significant challenge within their business.

That doesn’t need to be the case – the most effective learning happens when a learner is actively involved in relevant, practical and absorbing activities that benefit on-the-job performance. Our online learning modules use real-life practical examples of decisions and processes that they face in their daily experiences at work, teaching them new skills and knowledge – and, of course, helping to ensure full health and safety compliance for petrol forecourt owners and their staff.

Three new-look courses are now available from just £25 per person: age-related sales, safety on the forecourt and competent persons.

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