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Case Study: Training Records

for a compliance office

A system to help the compliance office of a large company manage their training records.

Training event appointment in Microsoft Outlook

The software customises Microsoft Outlook, adding features to identify suitable candidates for selected training events, invite them automatically, and check off attendances afterwards.

The system is made up of these main components:

  • an add–in for Microsoft Outlook
  • a standalone client application for data maintenance and reporting
  • a Microsoft Access database stored on a network drive
  • a shared Outlook calendar

The compliance office uses a dedicated shared calendar to schedule training events.

The system is built upon our own Escape Velocity software platform. This provides a data access layer that keeps the database in sync with the Exchange calendar, and supports concurrent access by any number of users.

Configuration dialog

Built–in configuration dialogs allow the users to manage the system with minimal support from their IT department.

Other low–level tools built into the software allow support staff to maintain the database while the system protects its data integrity.

The business sponsor manages first–level support herself, and we handle other levels either in person or over the phone. The only time we need to involve the IT department is when we need administrator privileges to install new versions.

Select a training course

To schedule a training event, the training manager creates a meeting appointment in Microsoft Outlook and selects a training course.

The system automatically works out who should be invited to the event. It does this by filtering the workforce based on job function or other criteria, and on individuals’ training histories. For example, all employees may be required to attend a Health & Safety primer within one month of hiring. This ensures that everybody in the organisation is invited to appropriate training in a timely fashion.

The manager can add extra people to the list or remove nominated people. Then the manager pushes a button and the system prepares the invitations.

Attendance report

After the training event has run, the manager goes into Outlook and marks off those people who attended. If someone turned up uninvited, the manager just adds their name to the list.

Attendance report

The system produces reports showing things like who attended each event, who was invited, how often a person attended and the date they most recently attended. These reports allow the training manager to identify employees whose training is falling behind, or to identify candidates for an upcoming training session, and so on.

The primary motivation for this project was the need to ensure that all employees’ training is kept up to date, in accordance with regulatory requirements.

By capturing invitation and attendance data automatically, the system eliminates the errors and omissions that were common in the previous paper–based system.

Employees’ training records are integrated with the invitation lists for upcoming events, and this facilitates smooth maintenance of the organisation’s training schedules. The customisable reports allow the compliance office to retrieve an employee’s training record instantaneously, or to produce a report of people whose training is falling behind.

When we delivered the system we loaded a year’s worth of historical data into it. Shortly afterwards, the regulator conducted an audit. Our customer tells us that it all went swimmingly.