Many public health training courses have relied on learners being able to have practical, classroom-based training, where they can interact with equipment and ask their trainer questions. However, thanks to innovations in their teaching methods, some RSPH approved centres have been able to continue with training and assessments.

Killgerm, a centre that offers the RSPH Level 2 Award in Pest Management, and RSPH Level 3 Award in Pest Management responded quickly to social distancing measures by creating eLearning materials so that some of their popular courses were accessible online. The West Yorkshire-based centre adapted their classroom Pest Management training to ensure learners could access their materials.

Mark Butler, Company Biologist at Killgerm, said:

“Our team, led by Matt Davies had to adapt quickly to get our training on our website. Our classroom presentations were put online with a voiceover talking through the material. One of our challenges is how learners ask questions and engage with the trainer, so we’re looking to develop online training through video conferencing.

“The response to the new methods of teaching has been really positive – some people have already completed their training and taken exams whilst lockdown measures have been enforced.”

Pest Management remains paramount for maintaining food safety and protecting the public’s health. Pest Controllers rightly became classified as Key Workers after The British Pest Control Association and The National Pest Technicians Association lobbied Government.

The Care sector is another vital area of public health where an RSPH centre has innovated to continue training. The commitment and skills of people working in Care have been recognised on a national scale, from the Thursday evening ‘Clap for Carers’ to businesses offering discounts for care workers. However, the sector has faced unprecedented challenges and it’s never been more important to continue training people to fill the growing need for skilled Carers.

Dining with Dignity, based in Bristol, runs the RSPH Awareness in Food Hygiene Level 1 and trains people to work in care villages at the St Monica Trust. The Trust provides care for 1,350 residents across five care villages.

Gary Brailsford, Director of Dining with Dignity, said:

“We’ve been able to train over 220 new staff to help in care villages across the Trust. We’ve adapted our training to include temperature checks on arrival and before lunchtime, social distancing of two metres across the training facilities, and touch point sanitizing is completed throughout the day.

“We’ve had to think about our training schedule to make sure we can implement all of our social distancing measures. However, we feel that people who have gone through our training will feel how rewarding a care role can be”.

Alongside the innovations of our accredited centres, RSPH has also been actively researching new ways of delivering training and qualifications through eLearning and online assessments.

Richard Burton, Director of Qualifications at RSPH said:

“Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting lockdown, awarding organisations and educational establishments are looking at systems for remote learning, assessment and invigilation. RSPH is no exception to this. We are actively researching our options, but are mindful that whatever we develop has to be in the best interests of our centres and ensure that assessments are safe, valid and reliable”.

Even when lockdown measures have lifted and training can resume as normal, there may be some positives outcomes of new ways of training that could be used in the future.

Mark from Killgerm explained:

“Although there’s no substitute for classroom learning (for Pest Management training) some training may stay online. We’re led by customer response and we will always keep them in mind when developing new training”.