RLSS UK’s, Qualification & Workforce Support Manager, David Springthorpe recently returned to delivering training after being on furlough. His first course was a private Emergency Response Pool (ER-Pool) course for a new client. Although the content and skills of the course were similar to other courses he had previously prepared for, there were obvious changes to the delivery style that needed to be considered post-COVID-19. After the course, David produced a top ten tips - to support other trainers returning after a break. Please find his thoughts below:   

1. Safety

Whilst it is fantastic that swimming pools have started to re-open in parts of the UK and the Republic of Ireland, it is important to still follow your local government safety guidelines regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.  As a “lifesaving” society, (it goes without saying) that safety must come first, so please ensure you read all of the government's guidance and the RLSS UK guidance, which can be found here to ensure you are up-to-date with guidance and suggested procedures.

2. Space

In an ideal world, we would all have access to huge training rooms with endless amounts of space but that sadly is not the reality. For the practical sessions especially, it can be great to step away from the training room and work in a larger space to make sure everyone feels comfortable. I have seen fellow trainers using alternative spaces such as sports halls and outdoor areas where they have not normally had access to, and if the weather is fine, why not take the opportunity to pause the PowerPoint and focus on the practical skills outside in more comfortable surroundings, where there is more space.

3. Time

Whether it's popping to the supermarket, picking up a takeaway or heading back into your local leisure centre, things in general, are taking a little longer to ensure distancing guidelines are being maintained. The same can be said for training delivery, especially when it comes to practical aspects.  The adage of “fail to prepare, prepare to fail” is very relevant as you really need to think about how you can be time-effective but also adhere to safety guidelines.

4. Candidate concerns

Be prepared to deal with an initial influx of questions surrounding the new practices brought into place for training delivery. This can be managed with a well-planned briefing at the start of sessions or if possible, for candidates to be informed before arrival. Do not be surprised if different candidates have varying levels of concerns when it comes to new practices. For those most concerned, it’s worth clarifying the safety procedures put in place to put their minds at ease.

Don’t forget the additional information that can be found in the guidance here. Which should be added to the training course/assessment enrolment form that candidate should complete before the course. 

5. Wearing Masks

Wearing a face mask is not something that many people will have needed to do prior to 2020, but it is slowly becoming a part of everyday life. Be aware that face masks can make some people feel uncomfortable, so please consider this as part of the safety procedures. From a personal perspective, I was caught a little surprised that I felt slightly more out of breath when delivering practical demos and wearing a mask. To lighten the load, you could consider using our excellent video demonstrations from the NPLQ syllabus.

6. Scene Setting

I’m a big advocate for “scene-setting” or “ice breakers” at the start of training sessions to help outline expectations. If you have attended any of our Face2Face Forums, you may have experienced one of these practical exercises. Unfortunately, some of these more practical tasks are no longer appropriate due to distancing guidelines, but you could consider some tools such as https://quizizz.com to create some enjoyable scene setters or learning checks.

7. Partner/Group Bubbles

Find out at the start of the course/training session if you have any candidates are within their own “social bubbles”, such as siblings or partners. This means that they may not be required to distance and therefore can sit close together, complete demonstrations and partner up in practical sessions more easily.

8. Equipment

The more the better!! When delivering my recent ER-Pool course, I was fortunate to be able to allocate equipment individually. Each person, having their own set of manikins; first aid stock; pocket mask; wipes; and AED Training units. This worked well, as it reduced the amount of time required to sanitise equipment. If you require extra equipment, try contacting other TAs in the area or local lifesaving clubs who may be able to lend kit for a short period and you could offer to return the favour when they run their training sessions. You could use our Facebook page “RLSS UK Trainer Assessors” to seek help.

9. Lead by example

As with all training, the candidates will look to their TA as inspiration. Promote good hygiene and distancing practices by demonstrating regular hand washing, use of hand sanitiser, sneezing into your elbow, etc. They are more likely to abide by the rules if you show a positive approach.

10. Disposing of used items

Throughout the training sessions, you will be amazed at how much PPE you will need to dispose of – i.e. gloves, masks, wipes. It can start to accumulate quickly, so consider having plenty of disposal containers available throughout the training session so that they can be binned or recycled safely and appropriately.

If you are preparing to host a training course soon and want further support please contact the team on [email protected].