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07 Jun 2021 111

Safeguarding Tri-umph! British Triathlon Makes Successful Transition to UK Coaching

During the pandemic, British Triathlon have kept the doors of learning open and prioritised UK Coaching’s Safeguarding & Protecting Children and Safeguarding Adults training. For UK Coaching Week we spoke to British Triathlon’s CEO Andy Salmon about the pressing need for essential safeguarding training

We have more than 10,000 reasons to be proud of our Safeguarding and Protecting Children Online Classroom… and counting. For that is the number of learners who have taken our virtual course during the pandemic – in addition to nearly half a million people who have been through UK Coaching’s face-to-face safeguarding workshop during the past 24 years.

And UK Coaching is hugely grateful to those organisations who, by becoming UK Coaching Licensed Partners, deliver UK Coaching safeguarding courses using their own tutors.

British Triathlon was the first National Governing Body to orientate its tutors to deliver our online classroom, further swelling the number of learners who have benefitted from safeguarding training at this pivotal time for the sport and physical activity sector, and for the nation as a whole.

It is a shining example of an organisation that has acted proactively to ensure its coaching workforce has remained upskilled during the pandemic, by recognising online training as a sustainable alternative to face-to-face learning.

We posed some focused questions to British Triathlon’s CEO Andy Salmon about the paramount importance of safeguarding training.

British Triathlon implemented improvements to its safeguarding standards from January 2021 and all registered coaches need to ensure they have completed UK Coaching’s Safeguarding & Protecting Children or Safeguarding Adults training. What were the reasons behind this decision?

“We are constantly reviewing our standards and, during one of the reviews, we highlighted that we wanted to make improvements to our standards, raising awareness and learning amongst our workforce. We want everyone involved in our sport to have a safe and enjoyable experience and safeguarding is a fundamental building block in ensuring that.

Training is there to protect our coaches, activators, participants, clubs and our sport. We wanted to future proof the sport and aligning to industry recognised standards, including CPSU and CIMSPA, was very important to us.

The UK Coaching Safeguarding courses have been accredited to all industry standards and support our values, so it made complete sense to use these courses for all of our coaches.

“We orientated our tutors in December for the online classroom version and we held our first course on February 1. For coaches who are working with over-18s, they can choose what is most suitable for their learning in relation to taking either the Safeguarding & Protecting Children online classroom or the Safeguarding Adults eLearning course. This might be learning style preference or future aspirations to coach U18s.

“It has been great working with UK Coaching on these courses and to date, we have hosted over 60 UK Coaching courses across England and Wales in 2021. Over 720 of our coaches and activators have already completed the online classroom, with many more signed up to take part.”

Learning never stops. Not even in lockdown. Our Safeguarding Online Classroom has been designed to support the continuation of learning during this unprecedented time of disruption. What, in your experience, are the benefits of hosting virtual classrooms?

“Since we communicated the new safeguarding courses to our coaches, online classrooms have enabled a greater flexibility for our coaches and activators to access training without limitations of travel and therefore a greater time investment.

The online classroom environment allows the opportunity for everyone to interact and feel comfortable participating in the interactive training from screen annotations to open discussions.

“We have all become more accustomed to online platforms since the pandemic began in 2020 and in most cases have improved IT skills to effectively engage and participate. In due course, we would also like to offer face-to-face learning, for our coaches and activators to be offered a choice.”

Do you believe safeguarding training should be there for the coach too? How important is it that coaches feel they are supported and are given the tools they need to look after themselves?

“Coaches are a vital part of our sport and the safeguarding course is absolutely there for them too. By taking part in the course, we are seeing coaches creating a network of support for each other. They share experiences on the course which they then take away and support each other moving forwards.

“The UK Coaching Safeguarding courses not only arm coaches with the tools they need but it’s a safe place for discussion and conversation which allows coaches to grow.”

What features of the safeguarding training did your coaches find particularly helpful?

“It has been really good to see the feedback we’ve been receiving after the online sessions. There is a lot of work that has gone into preparing the sessions and seeing that people really benefited from the training makes it worthwhile.

“Some examples of our feedback are:

‘This was likely helped by the great guys on the course as well, but I came away feeling like I had learned something and that I had access to more resources to ensure our club is a safer environment for our younger athletes.’

‘The scenario-based approach made the course informative, thoughtful and instigated discussion, bringing all experiences to the fore. Very well done and the fact that it was online didn’t diminish it in any way. The flexibility afforded makes it easy for any coach to participate in this very important subject.’”

If you want help with your coach development programmes, then please get in touch with us to discuss your requirements.

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