News story

Gold award winning DVD helps prepare a Legion of workers

UKLearning NewsCharity Learning Consortium

A multi award winning DVD has changed the face of training for The Royal British Legion, one of the UK’s best loved charities.

A multi award winning DVD has changed the face of training for one of the UK’s best loved charities. The Royal British Legion decided to use real caseworkers in its DVD – called The Visit - to show volunteers how to use their ‘eyes and ears’ when assessing the needs of ex-servicemen and their families.

Charity Learning Consortium (CLC) member Martin Lewis, Head of Learning and Organisational Development at the Royal British Legion, explained the unique approach the Legion’s L&D department took with the production: “What makes this DVD not only award-winning but also unusual in its approach is the overlay of real caseworkers doing the commentary, with actors role modelling the scenarios – a docu-drama format,” he said.

“The style and content of the DVD ensures that the video dates less rapidly than the typical corporate ‘talking head’ style presentation.” The varying scenarios and the style of the content allow the DVD to be used as a stand alone training resource, or as part of a blended solution, he explained.

Martin Baker, Managing Director of the CLC, said he was delighted for the Royal British Legion: “This is a great example of the imaginative thinking that we see in Third Sector learning and development. We were delighted to hear that not only has the DVD won some very high level awards – which is brilliant - but that it is proving to be a real success on the ground. I know that I am always banging the drum for the good work that is being done in charity learning, but it’s just fantastic for the Royal British Legion’s L&D department to get the credit that it deserves.”

The Visit has a dual use – both as an induction tool and as a training and coaching resource. The Royal British Legion has approximately 3,000 caseworkers, which are the ‘face’ of the organisation. They visit people applying for support and gather key information, which allows the legion to decide both whether they are eligible for assistance and what that assistance should be. Around 1,200 caseworkers receive training on an annual basis with approximately 500 new caseworkers going through induction each year.

“The DVD has been really well received by experienced caseworkers who say it is a much more current and accurate reflection of what they actually do, and - more importantly - has been well received by new starters, who like the content and the real world input,” said Martin Lewis.

“Everyone seems to appreciate the move from traditional style training videos which tend to be ‘do this in a certain way’ and often date quite quickly. They like the fact that live caseworkers contributed to the DVD and this shows the value we place upon volunteers undertaking this work."

The DVD picked up two prestigious awards earlier this year from the International Visual Communications Association, winning a Gold Award in the Practical Training category and a Silver Award in the Induction category.

It then went onto win further awards at The New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards, with a Gold World Medal in the Public Relations category, which includes recruitment and induction, and a Finalist World Medal for Internal Use, which includes training.

“It is always great to get recognition for work you do but to have scooped several awards at such prestigious events is really fabulous. It is particularly great to get recognition from peers!” said Martin Lewis.

“The original plan of having a single DVD fulfilling several roles was always a challenge but we appear to have succeeded in delivering against the brief – as evidenced by the awards in several categories. I should thank our partners in producing the DVD - Straker Films – who delivered a great end product that will be a great asset in training new volunteers to support our beneficiaries more effectively.”

The DVD has been issued to every Royal British Legion county office and is also included in the new Welfare Volunteer Induction pack that all new caseworkers receive.