Me Learning’s online training is being used by employees at Wigan Council, so they are ready to provide a swift response during times of increased demand within critical services, or as part of civil contingencies and emergency responses.

Our library of training content is being used by council employees as part of Wigan Council’s ‘Team Wigan Days’ workforce development offer, to prepare staff for alternative duties, they may need to fulfil, if an urgent emergency response is needed.

This approach builds on the plans which were developed to different services to carry out alternative duties by the council during the Covid-19 pandemic. Employees were deployed, so that immediate humanitarian support could be offered to local communities and importantly so that the council could ensure that crucial services for the most vulnerable residents were maintained.

In readiness for other emergencies – health related or otherwise – the council has put in place a new Deployment Scheme which is part of their enhanced workforce development offer. The scheme enables protected time for employees to spend in a critical service, shadowing and completing statutory training to broaden their range of skills, knowledge and experience. This prepares them so that they can step in to support those services in response to an increased demand or critical need, providing greater flexibility and workforce resilience across the organisation.

Employees, in discussion with their managers, are able to voluntarily sign up to the scheme and are then provided with a training programme which consists of e-learning, on the job training and/or work placements which will prepare them for the work they may need to carry out as a reservist. The online courses provided by Me Learning are a key part of this training programme and fit with the temporary role allocated to them, through the council’s civil contingency planning processes. Learning options can include training on infection prevention and control, food safety and hygiene, manual handling, safeguarding and many other topics.

A spokesperson at Wigan Council said: “We are really proud of our response during the Covid-19 pandemic. We deployed over 900 staff to support 12,253 residents, including accommodating 300 people who were homeless or rough sleeping, and packing and delivering 36,807 food parcels.

“What this experience really emphasised was the importance of keeping our workforce safe, looking after their wellbeing, and taking actions to mitigate risk for those working on the frontline. By allocating roles through our civil contingency plans, this also provides an opportunity for employees to build skills in advance on relevant topics, so they are ready when called upon to assist.”

Me Learning has been providing digital training services to learners at Wigan Council and ten other councils and their partner organisations across Greater Manchester since 2016. The councils rely on Me Learning to provide the technology so their employees and partners can access online training, as well as our library of training content, developed specifically for, and with, local government using subject-matter experts. This highly successful partnership between Greater Manchester Combined Authorities (GMCA) and Me Learning allows the councils involved to benefit from economy-of-scale savings.

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