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Home > News > March 2005 > 01-Mar-2005

Cambridgeshire CC implement online induction course

Cambridgeshire County Council is developing an online induction course in partnership with Balance Learning to help improve the efficiency of its induction process.

Featuring mandatory details on the working implications of the Data Protection and Freedom of Information Acts, the new course will cover generic IT and health & safety information. It will also contain a section on the organisation’s history, mission, structure, values, goals and its policies on environmental issues, equal opportunities and disability.

"A good induction helps new recruits 'learn the ropes' and contribute quickly but when you have part-time and shift-working employees, it can be difficult to get people together for induction sessions," said Cheryl Hickman, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Blended Learning Project Manager.

"Using the online course, new employees can undertake their induction at their own speed, so they can be up-and-running without having to wait for the next class to run."

The county council recruits around 30 new employees, consultants and agency recruits each month. However, Cambridgeshire believe the new course will also be of benefit to existing employees.

"We’ve been running weekly half-day workshops on Information, Computers and Technology to provide mandatory training," said Cheryl Hickman. "We can now phase out these workshops and ultimately all of our 6,000 employees can go through this module on the online course instead."

The course is hosted by Balance Learning and accessed via the Internet. It provides two to three hours of learning, with interactive exercises and pre and post-course tests designed to guide and track each person’s learning.

"The online course provides proof that the mandatory training has been undertaken and understood," said Cheryl Hickman. "As an employer, this enables us to ensure that all new employees receive a positive induction. We get a permanent record of employees’ test scores and progress through the material."

Balance Learning is producing a workbook which will act as a job aid and reference resource for each new employee. The county council will supplement the online learning with a half-day workshop on the ethos and culture of the organisation.

"We felt it was important that we continue to run a short workshop as it offers a chance for new employees to meet others who have joined at the same time," said Cheryl Hickman. "Blending online learning with a face-to-face session is, we believe, the best approach for induction."

Balance Learning is also developing workplace activities for each inductee to complete after the formal training, such as ergonomic checks to ensure health and safety compliance and a 'treasure hunt' task where the inductees are asked to locate people, places and equipment. The activities will incorporate email requests to verify progress with their line manager.

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