Implementing solutions to modern day health and safety challenges in an historic setting
About Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Andrew Anderson is the Environmental, Health and Safety Officer at Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon. Andrew explains how International Workplace has helped the Trust deal with the unique set of challenges it faces as a museum group delivering visitor-facing heritage experiences, as well as tasked with protecting and preserving Shakespeare’s family homes.
Following the easing of restrictions and the welcoming of more visitors to properties to Stratford-upon-Avon, we wanted to ensure our teams across the Trust had the opportunity to upskill in health and safety. There had been many changes following the pandemic across our properties and with team members in different or augmented roles it felt the right time to refresh and grow expertise and confidence in this important area.
Our first step in this process was to organise a IOSH Managing Safely course. We wanted to have this delivered across three days and in-person to allow our staff the time to focus on the training and enjoy the collaborative experience, ensuring that attendees had the opportunity to engage with the course fully. This focus on engagement and collaboration was a key driver for us when selecting a course and a training partner.
We’ve had positive feedback about the course from our team. Attendees have told us said that they enjoyed the overall experience, noting that they thought it was fun and found it really engaging.
A unique set of challenges
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is responsible for the ongoing care and preservation of the Shakespeare family homes in and around Stratford-upon-Avon.
From Shakespeare’s Birthplace itself, the busiest of the properties, to the more tranquil setting of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, a short walk away in Shottery, and Shakespeare’s New Place, each have their own challenges in a heritage setting.
Alongside the three properties that are open to the public for the majority of the year, we have office spaces, warehousing and a working farm, which is also open to educational groups throughout term time. We’ve also got a library and a vast collection of over one million individual items related to the life, works and time of William Shakespeare.
This diversity of offerings and spaces also brings with it a great diversity of potential health and safety and access requirements.
For our teams it can sometimes feel challenging to mix modern health and safety requirements with old buildings, and so when International Workplace came to deliver the training, the first thing we did was take the trainer around the site so that he could see what our challenges are and how he could tailor our course materials to really benefit our team.
Why IOSH Managing Safely?
The Trust is committed to build upon its positive health and safety culture.
With 120 members of full-time staff and a mix of part-time and seasonal staff, we ensure that managers and supervisors are engaged with health and safety and can share this focus with their team. All of our managers are being trained in Managing Safely as the course is adaptable and covers a range of hazards and scenarios, but it gives our team the ability to be able to apply these scenarios to their own department.
Our trainer, Mark, had a good understanding of our organisation and its challenges and used those examples when he was training our team.
We’ve had positive feedback about the course from our team. Attendees have told us that they enjoyed the overall experience, noting that they thought it was fun and found it really engaging. Importantly, it reinforced why health and safety is so important, and the role that everyone can play in it.
Mark kept the group completely engaged for the three days of the course and so I’m happy to say we’ve booked him again!
Kate was really helpful with our Refresher training because she’s done a lot of work with us in the past and understands us as an organisation and really knows the challenges that we face.
We’ve been impressed with both trainers and the courses they have delivered, and look forward to working with International Workplace in the future to help us deliver our aims of continuing to engage positively with our teams across the Trust on health and safety.