Getting training processes on the right track for Arriva Rail North.

Arriva Rail North, a subsidiary of multinational public transport company Arriva, was the largest train operator in northern England. Its trains called at 528 stations – roughly a quarter of all the stations in England – and operated 476 of those stations.

Despite being in an industry that is dependent on timetables and consistency, Arriva Rail North’s training activities were ad hoc and inconsistent. The training delivered to staff varied dramatically depending on each employee’s place of employment, department and role.

Training was governed by a disjointed collection of manuals and spreadsheets, with undefined or poorly defined guidance on training and staff development processes.

We were tasked with delivering a learning management system (LMS) to be used by all staff. The organisation’s transport LMS was to become the single, universally-recognised system for managing training throughout the business. It needed to:

  • Manage delivery of training across Arriva Rail North.
  • Provide an auditable record of all training courses completed by staff.
  • Give a clear picture of training needs and skills gaps within the business.

Increasing efficiency, removing inconsistency.

We worked with Arriva Rail North to create Northern Learning, a Totara Learn site to manage administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of all e-learning training courses.

In contrast to the previous system of manuals, the LMS allowed all instructional training to be delivered and managed online. This improved access to learning content for staff and made managing the content easier for administrators.

We incorporated course registration and course administration functionality to reduce the time spent on training admin. This included a self-service system, which allows staff to book themselves onto courses and learn at their own pace.

A range of useful data on training throughout the business was collected and presented through the LMS. This allowed individual and organisational learning goals, skills gaps and compliance data to be analysed and acted upon. We implemented a tracking and reporting system to ensure progress towards meeting those targets could be closely monitored.

An engaging, unified training management platform.

The new training platform makes training more accessible, more consistent and more engaging. Staff are empowered to take control of their development by self-booking onto relevant courses.

The powerful reporting functions deliver important information to administrators, including details of which employees need to undertake safety critical training. This removes the irregular nature of the previous training system.

A soft launch of the new LMS attracted more than 400 members of staff, the majority of whom completed at least one online learning course or classroom training course before the system had been fully launched.

“The full functionality of Totara Learn was initially seen as daunting and complex however it’s power and feature set was quickly made familiar and explained well during the implementation. We had challenges with staff data going into the system due to the quality of our own data, but with the assistance of Synergy Learning we managed to overcome and be empowered to manage this ourselves going forward. We have really enjoyed working with Synergy Learning and appreciate the time and effort taken to assist with our implementation.”

Andrew A. Wright | IT Project Manager | Arriva Rail North

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