SCOTTISH housebuilder Stewart Milne says it has delivered more than 1,600 hours of online training to its staff during the Covid-19 lockdown and saved around £80,000 in the process.

“What we accomplished in a three month period was quite phenomenal,” said the company’s Learning and Development Manager, Susan Hudson.

“Around 85% of employees have completed free online learning for their own personal development or mandatory health and safety training. We’ve administered 1,678 hours of training, which equates to an impressive 44 weeks.”

Eliminating commuting time, accommodation requirements and course materials have reduced the cost of remote learning over traditional training delivery, which involves delegates coming off-site and into a classroom for at least half a day.

Learners have fed back that online learning eliminates any unease of raising a hand in a silent classroom. They can also rewind and pause videos courses – which average between 35 minutes to an hour in length – to ensure they understand the content. A multiple choice test at the end helps learners check their knowledge.

“There’s been a lot of positives to come from this, from how we will deliver training going forward and the efficiencies that can be made,” Miss Hudson said.

Stewart Milne, which has more than 900 staff, worked with the Construction Industry Training Board and other housebuilders including CALA, Miller Homes and Mactaggart & Mickel to support employees with training needs during the lockdown.

This included encouraging employees to look beyond construction and consider well-being and personal development through other skills such as cooking, IT or learning a new language.

“Over the next few months, we’ll be able to compare the e-learning with face-to-face training through feedback from employees and observing behaviours onsite,” Miss Hudson said. “I’d like a bit more time before I say virtual learning is the future, but reflecting on the booking, coordinating and current feedback, online training is 100% positive.”