Create great in-house training: advice from an awarding organisation

Friday, 22 September 2023

Creating effective in-house training can be a daunting task, especially because it is so important to accurately develop the knowledge and skills of our workers. That’s why we spoke with Natalie Sherborne, Product Development Manager at NEBOSH about how to create great in-house training.

In-house training is defined as: “Training or instruction that is designed specifically for a company's own employees.” (1)

In-house training is important because it gives you the freedom to tailor your training to meet the specific needs of employees and the company.

Did you know, key figures for Great Britain from 2021/22 show that 1.8 million working people suffered from a work-related illness. (2) Great health and safety training will contribute towards making your employees competent in health and safety; Can help your business avoid the distress that accidents and ill health cause; Can help you avoid the financial costs of accidents & occupational ill health. (3)

Where should you begin?

In-house training gives you the opportunity to deliver something bespoke to your organisation’s needs. Before you produce your training materials, start by considering the following:

• Setting some goals and objectives. What knowledge or skills do your workers need? What is important to your organisation? Is there a particular area that requires improvement? Has a new process been introduced that’s created a training need?

• Assess what training and learning is already in place for your organisation. Is it fit for purpose?

• Worker consultation is key: ask the right questions and often you’ll be given some great ideas and solutions. You should also observe work being done – what is happening, in reality, can be different from what people say is happening. NEBOSH conducts a range of surveys and focus groups during its qualification development process, and it is invaluable in getting input from people in different roles and industries.

• Do some external research. What is considered to be current best industry practice? Is there any new legislation relevant to your organisation? Are there any emerging technologies that could improve your working practices? What are other, similar organisations doing, that could be applied to your own organisation?

• Identify and consult experts. Are there people within the business who are experts in certain tasks or subjects? Talk to them to get their input; they might even be able to help you develop or deliver training.

Developing your training content

Start by thinking about your learning outcomes: what do you want your workers to achieve by the end of the training? If you have existing training content (known as the ‘syllabus’) you can adapt this to suit the specific needs, industry or roles of your workers. If you are developing training content from scratch, you will need to determine what training content is required in order to meet each of your learning outcomes, and how you can assess learning.

You will then need to think about how you will deliver your training. Develop a lesson plan to structure the training into different timings, the content that will be covered and the methods of delivery required. Include lots of activities that will help your workers apply and consolidate what they have learned so far.

Here at NEBOSH, we use a template that breaks a training session down into smaller chunks. Here is an example taken from the NEBOSH International General Certificate lesson plan:

Avoiding/minimising manual handling risks:

Approximate timing  Content and tutor activities  Training intent  Aids and  equipment  Learner activity
20 minutes  Tutor to introduce the acronym TILE to   explain what to consider when assessing   manual handling risks (tutor to refer to   the earlier discussion on manual handling technique where appropriate). Tutor to   explain each of the four steps of TILE,   incorporating Q&A discussion with   learners at each step to consider what   measures could be used to help minimise   risk before showing each summary slide. To understand the  four steps that  need to be  considered when  assessing manual  handling risks and  the control  measures which  could be taken.  Slides

 Active listening

 Participation in   Q&A/discussion


Inevitably ‘listening’ will form part of the activities as concepts are explained. But you should try to build in a variety of activities so that your workers remain engaged; discussions, group activities, videos, quizzes, site tours, etc can all help to keep things interesting and help your workers to apply their learning.

Remember to factor in assessment activities too (more on this later in this article) so that you can check people have understood what you are teaching. Particularly important in health and safety is the ability to apply your knowledge to the workplace – you could combine practical activities within formative assessment exercises by asking learners to identify hazards within a particular environment, or from watching a video.

Remember your consultation group – you could check back in with some of these people to get feedback on your training plan.

The pilot

Having a practice run, or pilot, is essential. It shows you in practice whether your timings and methods of delivery work, helps you to spot issues and identify opportunities for improving your training.

Don’t be afraid to start again if your pilot is unsuccessful. Your pilot will have given you some valuable information about what works/does not work when you redevelop your training. NEBOSH has had to do this with a past qualification - it just means you’ll have a better, more effective training course because of it.

Assessment of learning

How do you know if the training has been successful? Assessment doesn’t just happen at the end of training – different forms of assessment should be used throughout your training course to help you understand each person’s learning journey.

1. Diagnostic assessment
A diagnostic assessment can help you to gauge a person’s current level of knowledge on a subject before they go on the training course. Applied to a cohort, the information gained from this assessment can help you to tailor your training, split the training into different levels, or buddy people up with colleagues to provide them with additional support. An example of diagnostic assessment could be to ask a set of multiple-choice questions about a topic covered in the training, to determine what level of detail the training will need to go into.

2. Formative assessment
This form of assessment takes place throughout the course to continuously monitor learning. Formative assessment activities check each learner’s understanding of what has been taught in the training so far: for example, by conducting group activities or discussions. It gives you the opportunity to understand where more explanation is required on a subject, or where an individual requires more feedback or additional support.

3. Summative assessment
This is the formal assessment which takes place at the end of a course to evaluate what learning has taken place, often marked against a standard or benchmark. For example, a written examination or a practical assessment to check the knowledge and skills each learner has picked up from the training. Learners could be presented with a certificate that recognises that they have achieved the standard of learning required.
Remember, training is not a tick-box exercise. Put time aside to conduct a review after the training to check that the employees have implemented their learning into their day-to-day work. You could observe people working, and talk to managers and workers to find out whether the training has resulted in any changes in working practice. Their feedback can help you to continuously improve your training courses.

NEBOSH can help

For further guidance from NEBOSH please visit

(1) In-house training definition
(2) HSE statistics
(3) Health and safety training