This summer, Simian International will launch their new scaffolding e-learning site. The site will provide expert online scaffolding courses, aimed at improving the skill sets of scaffolding workers in overseas developing countries We spent some time with Simian’s Overseas Operations Director, Ian Fyall, to find out more about the new site and who it will benefit.
Can you give a brief overview of what the e-learning site is?
The e-learning site is a place for those in the scaffolding industry, anywhere in the world, to receive expert online training on scaffolding best practice. It will offer a number of modules for trainees to choose from, taking them through tutorials, animations on each subject, mock exams and a final exam, after which they will receive a certificate to prove that they have completed and passed their module.
What was your inspiration behind creating the e-learning site and where did the idea come from?
The idea for the e-learning site began when I was approached a number of times through our social media channels by people wanting Simian to bring training courses to their country. As the logistics of doing courses in many different countries was extremely complicated, we worked on a solution that would make our courses accessible worldwide. My work has taken me to many large-scale worldwide projects where people often have to pause work on a job to do scaffold induction training. If there are 3,000 people working on a project, this involves a lot of downtime and can become very costly.
We wanted to be able to bring our training courses to the people and make a real difference to the skills and careers of trainees, as well as the scaffolding industry as a whole. Our e-learning came about from the idea that we wanted to provide training for multiple groups of people at one time, ensuring that they received our expert guidance and training no matter the location or time zone. Our aim is to inspire people to learn and save lives across the globe.
Who do you feel will benefit from the e-learning site?
Those in the scaffolding industry will benefit from the e-learning site, in particular those working within the world’s developing countries that find it difficult to travel to one of our training centres, whether this be for visa reasons or the significant costs and downtime that can be involved in travelling.
Scaffolders often start working in the industry alongside family members, and as a result they tend to pick up bad habits with regards to their scaffolding work. These bad habits could spiral into more significant issues in relation to safety, and therefore, with our training, we aim to offer a cost-effective training alternative that will provide the knowledge of how to work safely and improve production.
What are you hoping to achieve with the site?
We want to increase the educational value of scaffolding for people that can’t make our face to face training, and from this we hope that once people have begun their education on scaffolding best practice, they will be inspired to make the journey to one of our training centres around the world to increase their knowledge further.
Ultimately, we would like the Simian brand to have worldwide recognition as a global scaffolding leader.
You already have 6 languages lined up for the coming months, but which countries do you see the e-learning site aimed at in the long term?
Over the coming months we will release e-learning in six languages:
- Chinese (Mandarin)
Longer term we are looking to introduce a further four languages so that more people can benefit from the training. We will begin introducing these languages in 2018:
What do you feel are the benefits of having an online learning platform, as opposed to face to face training?
The main benefit of having the e-learning platform is to make our training more accessible to those across the world, that don’t have the resources to attend one of our training courses in person.
Our online training will bridge the gap and give people the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills of scaffolding best practice from their own home. Employers throughout the world will be able to provide workers with effective training that will ensure a safe working environment and help improve standards.
This is also a great help for large oil and gas companies to educate their staff at their own pace. I found from working in Iraq and South Korea that new staff had to undergo 4 hour scaffold inductions and this meant a loss of half a day of work. With our e-learning, the training can be carried out in the first or last hour of the day each day maximising production. Taking the e-learning route will also help Safety Officers in remote areas to recognise a good scaffold from a bad one and to assist in investigations.
We would ultimately like to see our e-learning package as the start of a Scaffolder’s journey, not a replacement for practical training delivered by our expert instructors. Ideally it should be viewed as the first step towards eventually receiving training from Simian at one of our approved training centres.
We feel by providing this service, we are leaving a legacy to the worldwide scaffold industry and ultimately providing an opportunity to improve the levels of safety for those who may not otherwise receive any training of note.