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Remote Training Delivery Standards

With more and more organisations following ACAD’s lead and delivering remote refresher training, it’s worth giving some serious thought as to the quality of delivery in this area as these have never been defined.

Remote training was growing prior to Covid-19 and benefits from widespread recognition including from Ofqual, Ofsted, SQA, IfATE and City & Guilds.  Within the Asbestos Industry training has been delivered this way for a number of years, including by ACAD.  This has long been part of the gradual drift away from traditional, face to face methods and the slow embrace of digital platforms and methods across all industries.

The current pandemic has driven everybody to embrace technology that has always been available to us but which has never been fully utilised.  A transition that was likely to take ten years, has taken less than ten weeks.

Defining Remote Training Delivery

Firstly, it’s important to state remote training delivery is not to be confused with e-learning.  It’s pretty clear that remote delivery is in fact virtually indistinguishable from face to face training as the following comparison table demonstrates:



Face to face Remote Delivery
Delegate has immediate access to trainer




Delegates can see, listen to and speak with trainer




Delegates can see, listen to and speak with other delegates




Delegates can share experiences, ask questions and learn from other delegates No Yes


From these measures and from our experience the two methods are directly comparable which is why ACAD has been using the remote delivery method (in specific situations where training needs permit) for a number of years.

By factoring in Covid-19 and other issues, the comparisons above and below clearly demonstrate the advantages of using the remote training delivery model for refresher training:


Face to face

Remote Delivery

Risk of RTA, traffic jams and delays



Lost working time



Environmental impact from travel



Risk of Covid-19 transmission



Delivery Practicalities

One limitation of remote delivery that has been identified is the ability to fully observe the level of engagement when a trainer cannot see an individual’s body language or eyes as clearly as when they are in the same room.  From experience we have found a ratio for licensed and non-licensed refreshers akin to the HSG247 limit for practical instruction of six delegates to one trainer is the remote delivery limit with higher numbers becoming more of a lecture than an engaging training experience.

ACAD aims for four to six on a remote refresher course to ensure delegates get the best out of their training and our members get the most value for their money.

Teaching and Learning Observations are also an essential component of training delivery.  Within TICA-ACAD we utilise an independent person with a L5 qualification in Observation of Teaching and Learning.  This is a level beyond the reach of most commercial training providers but one that should be an aspirational level for others to work towards.

It’s standard practice for a test to be given following training to demonstrate the learning that has taken place with multi-choice being a favoured format.  ACAD has used a range of systems over recent years to support remote training delivery.  Typically, a robust test system should offer different tests for each delegate with randomised questions and answer order to prevent any copying between delegates both face to face and remotely.  Time tracking should be used to ensure these are completed by the individual delegates at the end of remote courses with automated marking to avoid human error particularly around pass/fail boundaries.

Hierarchy of Controls, Covid-19 and The Law

The Licensed Asbestos industry is no stranger to hierarchies of control and risk assessment.  Where possible, the hazard should be eliminated.  That’s why UK Government have told people to work from home when they can, this eliminates the risk of Covid-19 transmission from colleagues.  This has been the principal message throughout the emergency situation we are in.

Where people cannot work from home, then social distancing rules should be followed at the workplace where these are open eg construction (Reduce the risk).  This being a secondary measure to the principal eliminate approach.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020, Regulation 6 Restrictions on movement states:

(1) During the emergency period, no person may leave or be outside of the place where they are living without reasonable excuse.

(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1), a reasonable excuse includes the need:

to travel for the purposes of work or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where it is not reasonably possible for that person to work, or to provide those services, from the place where they are living

Travel for work is therefore acceptable and within the law where a person cannot work from home, for example that’s why construction on site has been able to continue.

Applying this to refresher training, is it reasonably possible for an individual to receive refresher Asbestos training at home?  Usually the answer is yes.  They require a device – Tablet, laptop, PC or smartphone mirrored to a TV – (95% of UK households have a smartphone according to plus internet connection (96% of UK households have an internet connection, again according to

If it’s not reasonably possible for an individual to receive training remotely at home, so perhaps 1 in 20 people, then they have a reasonable excuse to travel for their training.  Disturbingly though, those without this sort of technology at home tend to be those who are at higher risk from Covid-19…  Primarily, this should be to their usual place of work to minimise contact with other groups of people where they can use their employers devices and internet connectivity to access remote training delivery.

The message here is absolutely clear, and one everybody should heed as we work together to fight against Covid-19.  Remote refresher training should be the default.

Practical Training

With many workers furloughed and site activity at reduced levels, the idea of training new operatives hasn’t been a priority but as time goes on this has increased in importance.  With social distancing restrictions likely to be here to stay for months, it is essential we find a way to deliver practical training whilst ensuring standards are protected.

An option that could work would be for theory to be delivered remotely alongside remote monitoring and instruction of a delegate who is receiving practical instruction from a more experienced co-worker who they will be working with once trained.  By wearing suitable PPE, including RPE, the practical experience is improved whilst offering protection from Covid-19.  This approach is likely to be much more complex than introducing social distancing and related controls within practical training centres.

As such, practical training for new workers is likely to be the only other reason for travelling for training until a change in legislation.

The “New Norm”

Feedback from operatives, supervisors and managers attending ACAD remote training has been universally positive.  With the technical genie forced out of the bottle by Covid-19, the industry has rapidly adopted the “New Norm” for refresher training with ACAD leading from the front.

With more providers coming on stream, ACAD members and other Licence holders are encouraged to ensure their training provider, whoever they may be, adhere to these minimum ACAD standards.

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TICA House, 34 Allington Way,
Darlington, DL1 4QB

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