Britannia Safety & Training is one of the UK’s leading providers of safety and training services, including health & safety training courses, audits, inspections and advisory services. Britannia delivers specialist courses for many different sectors, including construction, education, social care, leisure and retail, and covering a wide array of required skills and knowledge for organisations of all sizes. Britannia installed two SMART Board® 885ix interactive whiteboards with Meeting Pro™ software in September 2011. These tools now lie at the heart of a truly engaging and effective training environment that has helped Britannia to grow its business by 30% in the past 12 months.
Finding a more interactive and engaging training tool
Britannia is a leading provider of health & safety expertise, advisory services and training, having helped over 5,000 companies to meet their safety and training needs. Britannia’s training courses are accredited by a number of highly respected organisations, including the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), Prefabricated Access Suppliers Manufacturers Association (PASMA), International Powered Access Federation (IPAF), Construction Skills (CITB), Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance (HABC), , and many more. We are approved by the International Asbestos Training Providers (IATP).
In 2010, when Britannia commissioned a new, purpose-built facility in Norfolk with 6,000 sq ft of dedicated training space, it recognised the opportunity to take a fresh look at the tools that it was using to deliver its services. Managing Director Colin Wright explains more: “We had been relying on flipcharts and PowerPoint presentations using a normal projector and display, but the bottom line was that I was bored with PowerPoint. I wanted a solution for our new training centre that was far more interactive and engaging for people attending our courses, rather than staring at a static display and writing on flipcharts and pads of paper.”
A collaborative solution that keeps Britannia ahead of its competition
In order to find a solution that would keep Britannia one step ahead of the competition, Colin Wright turned to SMART Technologies. In September 2011, Britannia installed two SMART Board 885ix interactive whiteboards with Meeting Pro software in two of the three training rooms at Britannia House, its new purpose –built training facility. As Colin explains:
“Britannia has a reputation for leading from the front in our industry. We designed Britannia House to specifically meet our training requirements, including the size of the rooms and the equipment within them. As soon as I saw the capability of the SMART Board interactive whiteboards, I was really impressed and knew this was the way for us to go.”
Colin said “For Britannia, PowerPoint presentations have been given a new lease of life, thanks to the SMART Board’s compatibility with Microsoft Office”
“The SMART Boards are now a fundamental part of our training environment. We still have the option of running PowerPoint presentations but we can now make it far more interactive. Instead of having to work with a static display, we can expand, move and draw on pictures, we can cut, save and print content, and we can write by hand, convert it to text and email it.”
“When running PowerPoint through a normal projector, you can’t change tack. With our SMART Boards, we can react more flexibly to the needs of the group. We have access to far more information, including web-based material, and it is much easier to switch between resources. We’ve gone from one-dimension to a multi-dimensional training environment.”
More engaged, more effective, more enjoyable
According to Colin, the benefits that the SMART Boards have brought to Britannia’s training sessions have been considerable:
“In the market that we compete in, the SMART Boards put us two to three years ahead of our competition. Our training sessions are far more effective, far more powerful and far more enjoyable. Delegates are more engaged and they retain more information. This means they are taking on board the important information that they are being trained on, which ultimately helps to ensure that they and their colleagues are safer and perform better in the workplace.”
Colin notes a particular improvement in the participation of delegates in training sessions:
“Historically, a 70-30 split between the trainer and the participants was considered good, with the trainer leading for 70% of the time and the participants contributing for 30% of the time. Now, it’s more like 50/50, thanks to all the things we can do with the SMART Boards. It’s so much easier to get people involved and working together.”
The SMART Boards also provide delegates with more creative and collaborative ways to learn:
“We offer courses for managers running major construction projects. Now, instead of asking participants to sketch out on paper where everything is going to be on the footprint and elevation of a building site, they can work in teams to draw it directly onto the SMART Board display. The delegates are much more engaged and they learn more from interacting and discussing their ideas with others.”
As Colin explains, the SMART tools enable the meeting facilities to be used for internal meetings as well as for external corporate hire.
“The SMART Boards have been great for internal staff meetings and brainstorming with the other trainers when we want to discuss new ideas. We host a number of business forums, groups and networking meetings here, all of whom have embraced our SMART tools. We also hire out our rooms to other companies who want to use our facilities. For example, we hosted a company that runs social media courses who made great use of our interactive SMART Boards.”
A 25% increase in mark rates and information retention
The SMART Boards have improved the effectiveness of Britannia’s training, both in terms of the pass marks achieved by delegates and the knowledge they retain. Colin explains:
“All of our courses include a written paper. On a typical 30-question paper, you need 24 marks to pass. Our pass rates are now higher, thanks to the SMART Boards. Comparing the exams we run today with the exams that we ran before we had our SMART Boards, I would say that we see a 10% increase in the mark rate. For example, the average mark on a PASMA course used to be 26-27. Over the past 12 months, that has risen to 28-29 out of 30.”
“It is clear that delegates on our courses are much better at retaining the information, thanks to the SMART Boards. I estimate that there is a 20-25% increase in knowledge retention. Most of that is down to our SMART Boards, because they are so much more engaging.”
What is more, the SMART Boards also form an important part of the assessment process:
“We use the SMART Boards to present the questions and can ask delegates to write their answers on the board itself, either individually or working together. Working in a group in this way can be very good for confidence. It also gives us another way to assess delegates that may have literacy issues or that will struggle with the traditional written question paper. For example, we can display images and plans of construction sites on the SMART Board and ask them to circle the hazards on display. It is a brilliant medium to work with.”
As well as the improved pass rates for delegates, customers are also attracted by the higher quality of the overall training experience, as Colin explains.
“The versatility and interactivity of the SMART Board sessions delivers a really impressive performance for our customers, as well as great value for money, which certainly matters in tough economic times. What is more, for a number of our customers, such as those in the oil and gas industry, the priority is the quality of what is on offer. It is vital for them that their staff can learn their essential skills in a high quality, highly professional environment, equipped with the very latest training tools.”
Strengthening the Britannia brand and growing the business by 30% in the past 12 months.
Colin is in no doubt that the SMART Boards have been a worthwhile investment for Britannia:
“We are very happy with what they have delivered for us. Looking back, the investment in the SMART Boards was a no-brainer. They have not only boosted the quality and effectiveness of our training courses, they also play an important part in strengthening our brand and enhancing our reputation as a business that does much more than training.
The SMART Boards have also played an important role in how Britannia markets its services:
“The SMART Boards were a big part of our marketing strategy when we moved into our new premises and this will certainly continue. They help us to stand apart from our competitors. As we move into new sectors, we are having great success in selling our services to new customers on the strength of what a SMART-Board enabled training environment can deliver.”
For an accredited training provider like Britannia, the SMART Boards have made it easier to pass the audit process undertaken by the accrediting bodies. As Colin explains:
“The SMART Boards certainly make it quicker and easier when we go through the accreditation process with such internationally respected organisations as IPAF, PASMA, CITB and CIEH. There is no doubt that they are very impressed by our training rooms and our SMART Boards, which make it easier to demonstrate our competencies as an accredited trainer. To be honest, most people are blown away by the SMART Boards.”
Colin is also confident that Britannia will be investing further in its SMART success story:
“We’re looking to buy another SMART Board for our third training room at Britannia House. We also use SMART’s GoWire™ cables at the moment to connect our laptops to the SMART Boards, but will install a PC for each board, with all training resources accessible from a central server. We don’t yet use SMART’s Bridgit® remote conferencing software, but we’ve identified some training needs where we can make great use of the ability to work remotely, sharing material between SMART Boards in different rooms and running sessions for larger groups.”
Challenge – To deliver a truly innovative training solution to meet the diverse training needs of Britannia’s customers
Solution –Two SMART Board 885ix interactive whiteboards, equipped with Meeting Pro software, installed in the training rooms at Britannia’s new purpose-built training facility
A 20% increase in participation of delegates
A 25% increase in mark rates and information retention
Britannia’s reputation strengthened for the highest quality services
A business growing by 30% in the past 12 months