Article summary: PETA is celebrating a 90% pass rate on the NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety after delegates from the most recent cohort received their results.
Due to the pandemic, the assessment methods had to be changed in line with government guidelines to make it possible for learners to complete exams virtually.
Changing the way that NEBOSH delegates are assessed to enable it to be completed virtually was in the pipeline for NEBOSH prior to 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic sped up the process as the awarding body wanted to ensure that studies could continue on throughout any lockdown periods and to help navigate social distancing restrictions.
The prior assessment arrangements were for learners to undertake two 2-hour written exams that were held and invigilated at PETA’s Portsmouth training centre, plus a practical exam - a risk assessment activity - which was done in the workplace with evidence being sent into NEBOSH within a timeframe.
The new assessment schedule involves delegates completing one open-book exam, for which they are given a scenario and asked to complete several questions relating to the situation. The exam is done from home and must be submitted to NEBOSH within 24 hours of the commencement time. The practical exam is still in place, with learners undertaking this either at their place of work or from home if that is where they are currently stationed, and evidence submitted to NEBOSH for grading.
Last year PETA had NEBOSH General Certificate courses scheduled for March, June, September and December and amidst all the challenges of 2020, only one of those courses had to be dropped. The March delegates, who had only just started their course when the pandemic hit, had their course postponed until June, when classes were re-started.
They then took the open-book exam in October with the practical assessment following at the beginning of November. Another cohort started in October and the course that was planned for December was pushed back to January, which has now commenced too.
These changes posed challenges for the PETA trainers who were delivering the courses because, as with any new assessment structure, it was a work in progress and things were being adjusted along the way. Trainers Ben Uncles and Sarah Blake wanted to ensure that the teaching blocks were preparing the students fully for the exams at the end, which was challenging as they had no experience of the new open-book format. Ben and Sarah worked hard, investing their energy and commitment into redesigning the programme and getting it fit for purpose.
Emma Brennan, one of PETA’s Health and Safety Training Consultants said:
“The 90% pass rate is testament to all the hard work that our trainers put into ensuring that the courses were adapted to not only meet the requirements of the new exam format, but also to changes that had to be made to our delivery style. Although the teaching for this cohort still took place at the training centre, some things had to be adapted to fit in with COVID-secure guidelines.
“Since then, the teaching has moved online which meant that the trainers had to find ways of making information-heavy lectures and workshops engaging virtually, without that face-to-face interaction, which is tricky, but our trainers were determined to uphold the high quality that PETA delegates are used to!”
Throughout the course, PETA trainers set delegates weekly homework tasks to enhance their retention levels and identify any gaps in their knowledge. Although this is not part of the formal assessment process, it is an effective way to ensure the learners are taking the vast amounts of information in, which will better equip them for the end assessments.
The NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety is designed for those with health and safety responsibility within their organisation and ideal for those at the beginning of their career. The course is relevant to organisations of all sizes and sectors and is 13 days in duration, with one teaching day per week. The course consists of two sections - NG1: Management of health and safety, and NG2: Risk assessment.
- Why we should manage workplace health and safety
- How health and safety management systems work and what they look like
- Managing risk – understanding people and processes
- Health and safety monitoring and measuring
- Physical and psychological health
- Musculoskeletal health
- Chemical and biological agents
- General workplace issues
- Work equipment
Find out more about the NEBOSH courses PETA offers and get in touch if you have any queries. National General Certificate courses will commence in March and June 2021, and remember that you can now book online!
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