CPD Accredited Courses

Nelson Training now CPD Accredited
CPD Standards Office Accreditation for Nelson Training

Nelson Training now CPD Accredited

Our Presentation Skills and Public Speaking, Respecting Difference and the Value of Diversity, Absence Management, Handling Complaints and Performance Management training courses have passed the CPD Standards Office assessment and are now formally CPD accredited. This means that Nelson Training is now an official Registered Provider with the CPD Standards Office and has received a dedicated kite-mark for its specific use.

Going forward, any delegate who attends these courses may be issued with a CPD Certificate of Attendance, which they can use within their formal CPD record for a professional body, institute or employer.

By providing independent accreditation, the CPD Standards Office strives to improve the quality of continuing professional development (CPD) to ensure positive and successful CPD experiences.

They help CPD accredited providers ensure that they are delivering consistently high quality training that is inclusive and collaborative. Their marks of excellence for training and learning providers demonstrate to individual professionals that the learning activity conforms to CPD best practice and is appropriate for inclusion in a formal CPD record.

The CPD Standards Office forms part of the Professional Development Consortium. The Consortium works to build bridges between stakeholders to increase the benefits of CPD to individuals and employers. In particular, they encourage the spread of best practice and the sharing of support. Nelson Training is proud to have been named a CPD accredited training provider. For more information about the CPD Standards Office go to their website.

Nelson Training endeavours to offer highly interactive training to the highest standards. Our drama based training approach engages all delegates. Professional accreditation offers commissioners of training programs an assurance of total and consistent quality.

Return on investment for soft skills training

Can we calculate return on investment for soft skills training?

image showing a hand full of money and holding a green plant to demonstrate the value of return on investment for soft skills training

Evaluation of soft-skills training rarely goes beyond collecting a happy sheet at the end of the training session. Only a few HR personnel and learning and development professionals venture as far as attempting to calculate the return on investment of a soft skills training programme. Having discussed this with a number of HR professionals, the reasons for not doing this largely boil down to two reasons

  • They believe that it’s difficult or impossible to isolate in financial terms whether an improvement has occurred as a direct result of the training or whether too many other factors are involved to make such calculations worthwhile.
  • They think the maths is too hard!

In these economic times, however, we are often asked to justify why a training programme should take place and whether there will be a tangible outcome. In this post I would contend that most of the metrics required to do this are readily available in most organisations and that at least making some attempt to use them may give some valuable information if we really want to know whether a training programme has been worthwhile. The necessary maths to do this requires no more than simple arithmetic!

So here are a couple of examples to set people thinking about how they might apply return on investment ideas to planning and evaluating their own training programmes. No doubt you can think of many more.

How to calculate Return on Investment

The formulae

There are more complex formulae for calculating ROI but generally the following simple equations will suffice

 Benefit cost ratio

Total Benefit /Total  cost

 Return on Investment (ROI)

ROI =100 * (total benefits – total cost) / total cost

Payback period

Payback time (e.g. days) = total cost/ saving per time interval (e.g. days)

Worked example: Absence management

Attendance falls by 3 days per employee per annum from 15 days per employee following absence management training and remains at that level for 2 years. There are 300 employees average salary £26,000 pa.

Ignoring overhead:

Total cost of training £60,000 (trainer costs per day, materials etc * number of session days)

Average number of working days per employee per year (after weekends,  holidays and public holidays and absence before training) = 220

Average annual salary per employee = £26,000

Total employee cost per day = £26,000 * 300 / 220 = £35,454.54 (£118.18per employee)

Following training

Total employee cost per day = 26,000 * 300 / 223 = £34.977.57 (£116.59 per employee)

Total saved per day = £476.97

Total saved over 446 days = £212,728.62

Benefit cost ratio

Total Benefit /Total  cost = 212,728.62 / 60,000 = 3.55

Return on Investment

ROI =100 * (total benefits – total cost) / total cost = 100 * (212,728.62 – 60,000)/ 60,000 = 255%

But savings continue after ROI period

So payback period is often used

Cost was £60,000 and saving per day is £477 so payback time is 60,000 / 477 = 126 days

However, other factors might be involved that reduce absence levels

  • Economic climate
  • Winter climate
  • Employee demography changes
  • Changes in work practices (e.g. Health & Safety)

We may need to assign a probability factor to each of these. These are assumptions that we must attempt to justify. Generally we can estimate these from fluctuations in figures following the training. If the training is responsible we might expect change to remain relatively constant whereas we can factor in seasonal differences by comparing with previous figures. Likewise, will health and safety changes have coincided with the training period?

Probability is a value between 0 and 1 and the sum of all probabilities is 1

So we might factor a probability of 0.8 to the training being responsible 0.1 to weather effects and 0.1 to insecurity bought about by the economic climate

Total probability = 0.8 training + 0.1 weather + 0.1 insecurity = 1

We can then adjust our figures accordingly

Adjusted saving per day is £477 * 0.8 = £381.60 and the other calculations follow from this.

Worked example 2: Customer service

Following training customer satisfaction levels rise from 90% to 95%, total complaints fall by 20% and escalated complaints fall by 50%.

We need to isolate real figures that could be accounted for by the percentages. How many customers have been retained against the period prior to the training. What is the cost of acquiring a new customer? This gives us the figure for the saving by retaining the extra customers.

What is the time spent in dealing with a complaint on average? This needs to be converted into the cost per employee. This gives us the cost saving in real terms.

What is the cost of handling an escalated complaint? How many complaints were resolved at local level?

Total cost of training = £100,000

Cost per new customer = total cost of sales and marketing / number of customers gained

= £500,000 / 5000 = £500

Value of a customer in terms of acquisition = £500

100 more customers were retained than over the year prior to training = £50,000 saved


Total cost per complaint = £200

In year prior to training there were 1,000 complaints. This fell by 200 complaints in following year so saving £200,000


Total cost per escalated complaint = £3,500

In the year following training there were 10 less escalated complaints so saving £35,000

Total benefits = £285,000

Therefore benefit/ cost ratio = 2.85 and ROI = 185% and payback period assuming 240 working days per employee per annum is 84 days

Bullying and harassment training: using interactive drama

Image showing a nurse manager bullying a member of staff
Image showing a nurse manager bullying a member of staff
A case of bullying?

Bullying and harassment training: the problems

Interactive drama has proved to be an effective means of training to reduce the incidence of bullying and harassment in the workplace. At Nelson Training we were approached by a county fire service as an industrial tribunal had mandated that all staff members receive bullying and harassment training. Fire services are predominantly male organisations and there is a strong banter culture. Many organisations such as the fire, police and armed services have a banter culture and many people working in these organisations are unclear where the border line between banter and harassment starts.

Training people in any aspect of bullying and harassment is difficult. Many people who work in uniformed organisations are unhappy with sitting in a training room for a few hours. They are unlikely to respond favourably to an extended PowerPoint session. In addition, when training a subject such as bullying and harassment, there are additional difficulties in that people do not believe it applies to them personally (even if it does!) and they also resent being ‘sent’.

We have found another problem with bullying and harassment training, from our experience of this training at NHS trusts, in that many managers are unclear as to where the line should be drawn between acceptable strong performance management and bullying behaviour. Many people came into the NHS as members of the medical profession and now find themselves in a supervisory management position having received no training in managing people.

Victims of bullying or harassment also frequently flounder in deciding how to deal with the situation, with the result that many cases end up following a formal route that could have been avoided had they only known how the situation could be resolved informally.

Using interactive drama in bullying and harassment training

Invisible theatre

We have successfully applied interactive drama based training in both the fire service and NHS programmes. We have found that resistance to the training can be overcome through the use of ‘invisible theatre’ at the start of the session. Invisible theatre involves the use of actors as ‘plants’ amongst the delegates. As these were organisation wide training programmes it was easy to achieve this as only a few delegates actually know each other and similarly uniformed personnel do not arouse suspicion. In the case of the fire service we had two delegates dressed as fire fighters having a conversation in which one ‘delegate’ was negative about the whole training programme and brought out every negative opinion that most of the delegates had about the session. This ‘delegate’ was arguing about not staying for the rest of the session. The other ‘delegate’ answered each of the points in turn with the result that they both decide to stay for the session. We used an element of humour in this as this generally helps those attending realise at some point that these are actors.

Using actors to bring out negative views about the training has two valuable uses: firstly, it makes explicit and acknowledges that there is negativity and secondly, as this has now been expressed openly, negative delegates have no other points they can bring out during the session.

In the case of the NHS sessions we used three actors dressed as nurses and we took a more serious approach. One ‘nurse’ expressed that she was really busy and didn’t have time to go on the course as she’d never been bullied or had bullied anyone. A second ‘nurse’ expresses that the course is really important and that everyone needs to go on it. The first ‘nurse’ then asks the second if he could take notes for her if he’s staying, as she could do with using the time more productively. A third ‘nurse’ agrees with the first and asks the second ‘nurse’ if he could take notes for her as well as he’s so keen. They then leave the room, leaving the unfortunate keen ‘delegate’, who expresses reluctance to do this but feels browbeaten to agree. The scene is then disarmed by the facilitator, who informs the delegates that these are actors but they’ve just seen an example of the subject of the day.

Forum theatre

The main training method for both training staff in how to raise a concern about bullying or harassment and for training managers in how to resolve bullying and harassment issues is forum theatre based on scenarios that we have researched prior to starting the training programme. Following discussions with the commissioners of the training, usually the HR or training and development departments, we ask for typical scenarios within the organisation where issues are occurring. These are then turned into interactive sketches. These are carefully checked for authenticity. When dealing with sensitive subjects such as this it is important that no delegate ever says ‘that wouldn’t happen here!’.

The sketch is acted out with delegates observing what takes place. We then bring back each of the characters in turn after the sketch has been observed and delegates have had a chance to think about the advice they would give. We may, for example bring back a manager who has observed bullying or harassing behaviour and advise them what actions they should take. We may bring back the victim to advise what options are open to them. In each case, the character brought back does not necessarily agree with the delegates’ advice and will argue and discuss the issues with the delegates. The facilitator can keep the delegates on track and can guide delegates towards for instance, the organisation’s policies and procedures.

The interactive theatre may stop at this point but often, as would be the case where the delegates have advised that, for example, a manager would have to have a difficult conversation with a member of staff, we would see that conversation enacted. In this example, the manager would make a number of mistakes so that the delegates would have to stop the action and advise where the conversation should go. The scene ends when delegates have guided the conversation to a satisfactory conclusion.


A typical managing bullying and harassment programme outline

Bullying and harassment resources


Training for new council members

Council members debate in the council chamber
A busy council meeting

The elections on 7th May had a major effect outside that of the unexpected result at National level. Because the local elections for District Councils and Parish Councils were held on the same day, the vote at these local elections was much higher than normal. As a result, many local council seats changed hands as the electors who might have normally stayed at home for a local election came out in droves.

279 Councils held elections on 7th May and the Conservatives gained 541 seats, UKIP gained 176, the Greens gained 10 and Residents 2 so many new Council members were elected. Many councils use their own training officers for the mandatory training that the new Councillors need for matters of policy, procedures, standing orders, committee structure etc. However, in order to be a successful council member there are a number of new skills that the new councillor needs to suddenly develop.

For example; public speaking skills may need to be developed. Most councils impose a time limit of no more than 5 minutes in order to make a speech in full council meetings or committees. Many new councillors (and many old ones too!) struggle with being able to make their points succinctly and with relevance in the time available. Many are nervous in the unfamiliar environment and struggle to overcome this. Nelson Training have developed a novel approach to help here by using the skills of a professional actor to help with nerves and developing the voice combined with an expert facilitator who can help councillors structure the points they want to make in the time they have to make it.

Another area that both new and old council members struggle with is chairing and meeting skills. Here, Nelson Training use actors to role play both the meeting chair and the participating councillors. The action is often so realistic that all the councillors present join in the scenario. Full council, committee meetings, scrutiny panels and public meetings are all covered.

Equality and diversity and the legal implications of the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty are another area where our drama based approach has had real success. Being able to portray scenarios of relevance using comedy and drama gets over the impression that some new council members have that ‘it’s all political correctness gone mad’. It’s a light hearted approach to a serious subject that gets the point across on the legal aspects and the effect on council policies. It’s a painless way of illustrating the importance of demonstrating equality impacts rather than viewing it as a tick box exercise.

Most of our workshops are 2-3 hrs. We don’t use PowerPoint bullets and we never bore anyone with long lectures. Everything is interactive, fast paced, and relevant.
As well as the subjects discussed above, we also run training for council members new and old in

  • Overview and Scrutiny and
  • Questioning Skills
  • Handling the media
  • Handling difficult constituents
  • Juggling time for Councillors
  • Running successful surgeries
  • Influencing Skills
  • Running ward forums

Full details can be found on: www.nelsontraining.co.uk/training-for-council-members/