Education Corner

A brick wall with the words "We Don't Need No Education" written on it

So far in this series of short articles on staff training we have considered the role of the regulators, the Sector Skills Council SkillsActive, awarding organisations and the training providers.  This final article considers the role of the employer in the jigsaw of staff training.

Under the Health and Safety at Work etc. 1974 Act, it is a requirement that all staff receive training in their job, this includes stewards who are no different from any other employee. Stewards, and all within the event safety management team, need to have additional training commensurate with their roles and responsibilities.

For the employer there is an obligation to ensure the training is delivered and provided by competent people, using appropriate training resources. So when selecting a training provider, the employer should consider asking questions about the skills of the trainers as well as which training resources are going to be used.  Within football the Premier League, Football League, Football Association and the Football Safety Officers Association have created a specific training resource for stewards at Level 2 which provides the relevant training material for a steward to obtain level 2 NVQ in spectator safety.

A number of awarding organisations also publish training material to support the awards that they provide. There is an expectation that a competent training provider will supply the relevant resources for the training sessions and provide a range of teaching and learning methods to suit the learning needs of individual employees (learners). As part of the process for selecting a training provider, the employer should establish that the trainers have a qualification in training and education.

The employer should ask to review the training material to make sure that it covers all of the relevant points that are specific to the venue or event and, that it is not merely a simple cut and paste from another venue or training resource. There are some common elements that must be included in all training material. Whilst it would seem unnecessary to include training on football specific legislation in material to be delivered to stewards who are unlikely to work at football matches, it would be sensible to at least cover the main elements of legislation for all sports, including football if stewards are intending to work at a range of sports.

It is important that the employer has a comprehensive record of the training received by each employee. This is of particular relevance in a post incident investigation or enquiry where one of the first lines of enquiry will be to consider the levels of knowledge and training provided to all staff. Training records will provide that audit trail. Where a sports ground is issued with a safety certificate, the local authority may also inspect the training records of staff, as part of their inspection process. The records should contain details of any training sessions, the duration, the date and the training provider/lecturer. 

Where a club or venue engages staff from a third party, details of the qualifications of all the staff provided should be included as part of the event day record and held on site.

Occupational qualifications in Spectator Safety enable the employee to demonstrate competency, there is no current requirement for further training and qualification.  Staff should however receive regular training and updates, commonly referred to as Continuous Professional Development (CPD). These additional training sessions should also be recorded properly. 

Training and improving occupational competency has been a major factor in enhancing public safety at our sports grounds and events. The major shift from high profile policing/low profile stewarding to low profile policing/high profile stewarding has benefitted the clubs and is cost-effective. Good stewarding is an integral part of the safety management systems at any even. Successful stewards’ training is best achieved by having the right training resources delivered by competent motivated trainers.