Attention please! Lucid is working with Network Rail to develop key non-technical skills in its operational staff…

shallow focus photography of railway during sunset
Photo by Albin Berlin on Pexels.com

Imagine the role of a railway signaller… controlling the routing of a train, operating signals from a signal box or operations centre… the information screens, indicators, warning lights and alarms… all utilising highly technical skills developed through specialist training.  The development of these skills then occurs on the job, alongside experienced supervisors and managers until signallers are deemed sufficiently competent to go it alone.  But, are technical skills alone enough to safely direct trains?

All of the operational staff at Network Rail – including signallers, control room operatives, local operations managers, mobile operations managers – also need a whole range of non-technical skills (NTS).  These are the “social, cognitive and personal skills that can enhance the way…staff carry out technical skills, tasks and procedures” (RSSB, 2020) and include skills in areas like conscientiousness, communication, control under pressure, teamwork, planning and attention management.

Let’s think a little more about attention management.  Signallers may know a control panel like the back of their hand… but if they get even slightly distracted and spend fractionally too long focused on something else… will they notice a light has begun to flash?  Or something else unexpected?  It doesn’t matter how technically good a signaller is at managing their area, if they haven’t noticed a train in a section.  This is why non-technical skills – like attention management – are just as safety critical as the purely technical ones.  

At Lucid we are therefore excited to be working with Network Rail again to design a training programme that supports the development of attention management in its operational staff.  As big fans of a blended learning approach, we plan to design the programme to include a range of different training formats – including e-learning packages, video segments and worksheets.  In our experience, providing training content in different, but complementary styles – such as text, visual, audio or interactive – results in a wider appeal to different types of learners and also helps to embed the learning at a deeper level.  This means all of Network Rail’s operational staff can really benefit from the training programme and develop their skills in maintaining attention when it matters most.

Assisted Delivery: An Overlooked Training Method?

@RebrandCities

As night follows day – people need training.  It’s what helps us to do our jobs safely, secure much sought-after promotions, develop career paths and even just gets us around an unfamiliar worksite unharmed…

But before we sing its praises too heavily, let us also be brutally honest, good (and even bad) training can come at a high cost – both in terms of expense, as well as time spent by the trainer and trainee.

So, what training formats are typically on offer?  We’re all familiar with traditional Face-to-Face learning, it offers the chance for experienced trainers to impart their subject matter expertise to a room full of knowledge hungry students.  In the last 20 years or so we’ve also seen a boom in E-learning, allowing knowledge to be shared with larger audiences at a fraction of the cost and independent of time or location constraints.

More recently, there is the much-touted Blended Learning, which merges traditional face-to-face classroom style teaching with E-learning packages, providing a highly effective means of sharing knowledge in different formats at the convenience of both trainer and trainee.

However, one mechanism is often overlooked: Assisted Delivery.

Assisted Delivery provides a course which ‘self-delivers’ in the same way as an E-learning course – with voice-over, graphics, video segments – but provides the opportunity for the facilitator to jump in, where confident to do so, and lead group interactions around particular video clips, diagrams, or case studies, etc.

We used Assisted Delivery when we developed a rail industry training course on the topic of Safety Critical Communications.  The course needed to address around 40,000 front line staff across multiple rail organisations – and there was no way we could have delivered the training to so many people through a traditional face-to-face course alone.  Yet at the same time, it was critical that we applied industry-wide protocols to often unique local situations.

By using Assisted Delivery we were able to place an in-depth 6-module course into the hands of local company managers who could then deliver the course with confidence at a time and frequency which suited the business.  Each of the individual learning groups were able to discuss the content, benefiting from the associated peer interaction and ‘social learning’, as well as apply the learning to their own specific local circumstances.

Assisted Delivery is not a universal panacea, but it is worth considering as a valuable part of your training portfolio.

Worksite Induction Whitepaper published

Lucid White Paper

This paper provides some observations and advice for developing site safety inductions.

It is not a sales brochure masquerading as a white paper; it does not say ‘use SiteSentinel.’ Rather, it examines several issues associated with site induction and offers practical advice on addressing them.

About the author: Paul Townsend is Principal Consultant at Lucid. He developed the Site Sentinel induction platform in response to personal experiences of poor site safety briefings within the UK rail industry. To date, the platform has delivered over twenty thousand site inductions.

People and Process – Building a Worksite Safety Induction (PDF)


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