Universities Welcome Staff Back

5th August 2020

Marshall E-Learning’s new course gets universities safely back to business post-lockdown.

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 lockdown, Exeter, Coventry and Worcester universities have each taken advantage of the benefits of e-learning to guide staff on their return to work. The online tutorials in a new Return to Work course give clear direction for staff, managers and student-facing staff about keeping safe – mentally and physically – while in the workplace.

Within the course, case studies have been designed for different staff groupings which look at health & safety, management, and wellbeing issues. E-learning was the ideal training solution due to social distancing making classroom training problematic to deliver.

Clive Betts, Head of People Development at Exeter University, explains: “Getting our university campuses ready and safe for a return to work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has required us to cover large geographical areas and encompass a high number of buildings of varying ages and designs that are used for a huge range of purposes.

“Before people can return to work, it is important that everyone who needs to be on campus knows what measures we are taking to ensure everyone stays safe, what people are required to do before and when they return to campus buildings, what help is available and so forth. This detailed and highly specific information must be delivered to everyone who needs to be on campus in a timely and digestible manner.

“The University of Exeter has worked with Marshall E-Learning to rapidly deliver a comprehensive online module that colleagues can access 24/7 and which, through their dashboard, our online reporting, or the e-certificate they can download, demonstrates they have successfully completed the module, proving they know what they need to know before they return to one of our campuses.”

Using the Learn Upon learning management system, all staff are required to enrol and complete the course to ensure everyone understands the safest working practices going forward. The universities can also produce reports on how many staff have taken the training and show an external body that they have given careful guidance to their staff.

Sharlene St-Claire, Organisation Development Manager at Coventry University says: “Coventry University has a long tradition as a provider of education. Our roots go as far back as Coventry College of Design in 1843, and Coventry has been ranked top 15 in the UK for 5 years running.

“As the UK Government has recently announced details in relation to easing lockdown restrictions, it was imperative as an organisation to be proactive in organising a safe, warm and considered return to campus for all. Having a longstanding relationship with Marshall E-Learning, we have always received an excellent service and they naturally seemed a good choice to collaborate with in creating a package of support for our staff returning to campus. 

“At the design stage, Marshalls advised us on UK-specific legislation and good practice around COVID-19. This joined with our internal expertise and allowed us to create a comprehensive e-learning package and supplementary PDF that provides digestible and realistic guidance and information for staff and managers that will be viewed ahead of their return to campus.

“Marshall E-Learning demonstrated creativity in presenting some hard-to-digest information, flexibility in last-minute amends and professionalism at all times. We would recommend them as a supplier.”


In May, Marshall E-Learning launched a suite of digital resources within the Managers Lockdown Toolkit covering essential aspects of transitioning to homeworking, wellbeing and productivity, to help companies get up to speed with supporting their teams working remotely. Due to the popularity of the Toolkit and with the changes in workplace safety rules, they later added courses specifically for returning to work post-lockdown.

Justin Cuckow of Incident Ready Consulting, who authored the Return to Work module, said: “Universities rightly take their duty of care and health & safety responsibilities very seriously. It is essential with the return to the workplace that all staff understand what has been put in place to maintain a safe working environment. This module sets out clear expectations of both managers and staff given the changes, and focuses on the responsibilities on student-facing staff.

“Providing a warm and supportive welcome back and addressing concerns and anxieties, including from those most at risk can be difficult. The module explores some of the experiences of different staff groups through case studies, including those from BAME communities, so everyone understands what support is available to them.”


Universities have specific requirements on returning to work and e-learning is an effective way of communicating this. Universities across the UK can tap into this resource to ensure they are ready and equipped to welcome staff back on-site and continue to provide a safe and supportive environment for staff and students alike. Marshalls plan to follow up with more resources as the universities pilot various return to work scenarios.

For more information, visit https://marshallelearning.com/e-learning-courses/return-work-e-learning/ and find us on FacebookTwitterYouTube and LinkedIn.

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