Recover, refocus, rebuild: The story of BH Live learning

Sarah Stickland, L&D Manager, and Louise Oliver, L&D Advisor at BH Live, share a summary of the multiple challenges they have faced in recent times, along with some of the creative solutions they found to rebuild and sustain learning and development.

“The LMS provided by the Charity Learning Consortium has transformed our training capability, but we couldn’t have achieved so much without working in partnership with our membership manager, Stu Williams, who has become an extra member of our team! He has been an integral part of our learning journey.” Sarah Stickland, BH Live

BH Live has been a member of the Charity Learning Consortium since 2019. The charitable social enterprise uses both the learning management system and eLearning that the Consortium provides.

Sarah Stickland, Learning and Development Manager, and Louise Oliver, Learning and Development Advisor at BH Live, have faced various challenges in recent times. Nevertheless, they’ve remained agile in the face of massive change. They’ve focused on the organisation’s greatest needs, on quality training rather than quantity. Their targeted approach has allowed them to meet the needs of constantly changing circumstances.

Previously relying solely on face-to-face training, they had luckily just launched eLearning and a new learning management system (LMS) when Covid hit.

 Provided by the Charity Learning Consortium, these tools have been the starting point for a completely fresh, blended approach for BH Live. Here’s a summary of the multiple challenges they faced, and some of the creative solutions they found to rebuild and sustain learning and development. 


1. The workforce
BH Live faced multiple challenges, with a widespread employee base of more than 1,300 people in 16 locations across the South. It operates venues across Dorset, Hampshire, and London. Many teams are made up of casual workers to run seasonal functions, events and attractions, which results in a constantly changing workforce. Many are multi-skilled and hold numerous job roles across the organisation. This all requires a considerable amount of regulatory-related training.

2. Covid
Covid had a massive impact on the organisation.
All venues closed within a five hour notice period and employees were furloughed. When eventually everything started to re-open again, a lot of qualifications had expired and new legislation had to be quickly incorporated into training.

3. New LMS and eLearning wasn’t embedded
These new digital learning tools had only just been rolled out and less than 50% of employees had logged in. Prior to launching eLearning, all training had been face-to-face, so this was a cultural shift for the entire organisation.

As restrictions eased, a recruitment drive became an added priority for the learning team. As venues started to re-open – including new facilities at the Pyramids Centre in Portsmouth – there were extra demands, requiring fast and effective induction and training of new recruits.


1. Training now just a click away
 With such a widespread and varied workforce, the implementation of an LMS meant that BH Live was able to offer everyone eLearning relevant to their job roles. Hierarchies were reviewed following lockdown and the training platform was relaunched.

2. Blended learning
Due to Covid restrictions, there was a cultural shift when all training swiftly moved to a virtual setting. But as restrictions eased, there was still an appetite for some training to be delivered face to face. Therefore, BH Live adopted a blended learning approach. Any face-to-face training days are now used for practical skills sessions, to reinforce knowledge acquired through eLearning. This has numerous benefits but is much more sustainable for the organisation, with people spending less time away from work. Some courses, when appropriate, are also delivered purely online.

3. Maximising use of eLearning and the LMS
The LMS – branded Learning Zone at BH Live – is the learning team’s biggest asset, which they have utilised to its full potential. The learning and development team even started to create their own digital material, including an induction, food allergy training, mental wellbeing guidance, codes of conduct and sales training. Using H5P – an online tool to create interactive content – the team has successfully embedded content onto the platform, tailored to fulfil learners’ needs.

4. Onboarding and learning pathways
The learning and development team introduced a new red, amber and green ‘traffic light’ signposting system. Together with learning pathways, this has helped create clear, engaging learning journeys for time-strapped colleagues. The pathway feature has been used to streamline key content for induction, targeting groups with any specific training needs.

BH Live’s top tips for launching eLearning and/or an LMS

1. Focus on quality rather than quantity. Streamline and simplify processes, target training, and look for any efficiencies, however small.

2. First impressions count. Support learners with clear step-by-step user guides and frequently asked questions. It’s so important for them to have a good first experience.

3. Use clear signposting. We flag eLearning courses as either red, amber or green. Employees can see at a glance what needs to be done, alongside other topics they might choose for themselves. Red courses are mandatory and need to be completed as a priority, anything flagged as amber is desirable, while courses signposted green are optional.

4. Get admin sorted upfront. It’s easy to underestimate how important admin is, but it really is the foundation for a small team to be able to manage things efficiently. Whether that’s mapping job roles, determining hierarchies, ensuring that everyone has the correct log-in details or setting up the online booking tool to manage face-to-face training. Any groundwork you do before launch (or relaunch) will save time in the long run.

5. Keep drip-feeding learning. National events and themed days and months can be a great way of highlighting what you have available.

6. Good partnerships are vital. Managers are your training advocates and influencers, so get them on board. And we see the Charity Learning Consortium as extra members of our team!

7. Reflect. Take time to look back and reflect on what you’ve achieved. In the last two years we haven’t had the time to reflect, but we’ve actually accomplished far more than we had realised.

Sarah Stickland
Learning and Development Manager at BH Live

Louise Oliver
Learning and Development Advisor at BH Live

’10 reasons why charities should use eLearning’

There are hundreds of reasons of why charities should use eLearning but we’ve whittled it down to 10. 

Whether you’re making the case to start your eLearning journey or are looking to enhance the investment you’ve already made, these are the benefits of eLearning that will deliver significant results. 

CL Consortium Ltd
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