EBME Forums

Travelling to courses

Posted By: Rob1234

Travelling to courses - 24/04/19 7:02 PM

It used to be that our trust allowed you to travel during the normal working day to attend manufacturers training courses (these are courses that we have been told to go on, not of our choice) but they have now decided that all travelling must be done in your own time - so if I have a course in the SE and it takes 3hrs to get there, tough; you either have to do a full day’s work and then drive down or you can leave mid-afternoon but you are expected to make that time back up over the month - this is especially annoying if you are on holiday the day prior to going on the course or it's the weekend.
Also we have to apply for study leave to attend these courses (which again I reiterate that we have been told to go on, no choice in the matter) - my understanding of study leave (and my late wife's, who was a HR manager (non-NHS)) is that it is usually used for courses that you ask to be sent on (say day release for doing a degree in Electronics - my choice, so I have to apply and have it approved) and that's why you have to apply, not those that you are deemed to be sent on by management.
I just wondered what other trusts were like regarding this? - The study leave isn't such a big deal, it’s probably some fiddle to make the trust training stats look good but really it's just another layer of unnecessary bureaucracy, but the travelling to courses (that I have been told to go on) in my own time really irks and makes me really resentful of going on courses in the first place.
Posted By: Dustcap

Re: Travelling to courses - 25/04/19 7:24 AM

If you are attending mandatory courses then your travel should be protected with insurance provided by your employer, invariably this is classed as working hours so you should be paid. I once had to travel at 04:30 to attend a very long intense course and was told that i could not travel the day before. The drive was long and i got to the course with 2 mins to spare and already tired and in need of caffeine. My boss at the time however flew to a conference the night before and flew back the day after but nobody questioned it.
And we wonder why people leave their employment when crap like this happens.
Posted By: Geoff Hannis

Re: Travelling to courses - 25/04/19 5:39 PM


Have you tried refusing to attend the course unless they play ball? think

As I may have mentioned (a few times) before, sometimes you have to remind people how you want to be treated.

Take my tip, Rob ... never allow yourself to become a victim.

By the way, in case anyone is wondering:- yes, I have been known to be "assertive" when the need had arisen. And yes, I have "lost work" because of it. But my final response has generally been along the lines of "if you can find someone else daft enough to do it, then be my guest" (or words to that effect).
Posted By: MikeX

Re: Travelling to courses - 26/04/19 8:25 PM

Sounds like you need to join a union or look for another job! What’s next? Maybe they won’t pay you while you are reading a service manual as they consider it training! This is the thin end of a wedge.
Posted By: Geoff Hannis

Re: Travelling to courses - 26/04/19 10:56 PM


... or penalise you for not completing your quota of PM's within the "standard time". frown
Posted By: Chris Watts

Re: Travelling to courses - 27/04/19 6:24 AM

Usually its in work time plus the time it takes you to drive to work. If it took 3 hours to drive to the course usually you'd be put up in a nearby hotel at least out of courtesy to the organiser so you dont turn up 1 hour later when getting stuck in traffic.

We use to have an individual who refused to attend courses, couldnt leave his cats. The only problem is you end up the dogsbody not trained on anything.

As for the PM's any manager factoring 100% of your time should probably not be a manager. I was always told someone working fulltime should only be factored as 0.8 wte. This takes into account an acceptable amount of sickness, training, admin and any other unaccountable events.
Posted By: Geoff Hannis

Re: Travelling to courses - 27/04/19 10:53 AM


I saw what you did there, Chris (cats ... dogsbody) - very droll. smile

Fortunately for me, it's now been a fair few years since I had to "interface" with anyone calling themselves a "manager". Have things improved lately in that regard? From what I hear (and observe about town in general), the quality of "managers" these days has apparently not improved much.

Why is that, I wonder? think

In my experience, technical services (I'll focus on that) have always proceeded much more smoothly and efficiently where there hasn't been a "manager" within at least a hundred miles of the actual work!

I take your point about "courtesy to the organiser", Chris. It always used to be considered good form not to turn up knackered, stressed-out or hung-over; and not to fall asleep in the classroom as well (especially if you snore).
Posted By: Rob1234

Re: Travelling to courses - 28/04/19 12:50 PM

I'd find it very hard to out and out refuse to go on a course and the manager always pulls the 'it's to meet operational needs' card out when refusal is mooted. He always claims this 'travelling in your own time' is a NHS norm - I asked other NHS techs when on courses and they look amazed - that's why I asked the question.

Yes they put you up in a premier inn when you are that far away so you can be there on time on the morning of the course (probably anywhere that's over 2 hrs drive, which is fair enough) but I object to giving my employer 7.5hrs work and then another 3hrs (6hrs total) of my own personal time for something they have SENT me on.
I live on my own and have a dog, this also means I need to take the day off before and after a course (obviously depending what day it starts/finishes) to take the dog to kennels, plus pay £17/day kennelling costs - and before anybody kicks off, yes I know this is nothing to do with my employer, but it makes going away on a multi-day course an expensive personal cost directly to myself (days holiday and kennel fees) so the last thing I expect is to then give the NHS 6hrs of my time out of the goodness of my heart for something a higher authority (who's probably sat at home while I'm still on the road) has deemed necessary.

I can't wait to get out of the NHS - it's this kind of stupid stuff that irritates me - if we were all treated the same, fair enough.
I'll see what the union says.
Posted By: Geoff Hannis

Re: Travelling to courses - 28/04/19 6:13 PM


Are you anywhere near your NHS pension, Rob? ... if so, it's probably best that you hang in there, Mate.

Otherwise, what makes you imagine things are any better outside (the NHS), if that's what you mean.

For some reason, I find myself feeling sorry for your dog. frown

Why not try calling your manager's bluff? Let's see if the course is really that important. After all, even if you get a result with the union (and you may do), you're still not going to be "flavour of the month" with your manager. Sometimes, when dealing with a fox, you have to play the fox.

By the way, in my opinion, 2 hours is too far; if the NHS was properly organised, they should offer accommodation at the hospital nearest to the course venue.

And (just out of interest) - and a PM may be in order - is your manager a biomed-type, or (as I have known) someone who has been "parachuted in" from another "trade"?
Posted By: Dustcap

Re: Travelling to courses - 29/04/19 7:39 AM

"He always claims this 'travelling in your own time' is a NHS norm - I asked other NHS techs when on courses and they look amazed - that's why I asked the question."
There is nothing that would fit the status of NHS norm. If this was the case it would probably be more efficient, smoother running and not offering £2000+ welcome offers for new staff.
Anything over 2 1/2 hours should require a hotel stay either night before or night after. The stuff we are learning is vital and of great importance so that the devices we work on do not kill anyone, who wants a tired tech learning only for them to fall asleep at the wheel?
The NHS attitude into shop floor staff training is atrocious and since they scrapped the bursary for nurses it will only get worse.
Posted By: Rallium

Re: Travelling to courses - 29/04/19 4:58 PM

We are encouraged to travel within working hours. Any travel outside normal hours is reimbursed at overtime rates; time and a half before midnight, double time after midnight and on Sundays. Hotel accommodation is also paid for.
Posted By: Malcolm

Re: Travelling to courses - 06/05/19 10:50 AM

Just to throw petrol on the fire, how does one stand regarding insurance ect. travelling to an employer's course during out of office hours??
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