As a result of the pandemic, we have seen a ripple effect on the global economy affecting industries like Oil and Gas, Hospitality and supporting industries including safety training centres like ISTC.
When the Covid-19 outbreak became apparent, back in March and the pandemic went global, ISTC’s overseas team were halfway through delivering an eight week advanced firefighting training programme in Kuwait. The training industry suddenly came to a standstill.
In the midst of the unprecedented situation, our first priority was to come up with a plan to quickly bring back our team in Kuwait safely home to their families. This was our first battle against Covid-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, in Malta, our local teams were busy with back to back classroom and practical training on our training grounds which was also abruptly suspended until the new protocols and guidelines were in place. Many of our clients had no option but to postpone plans for training. The change presented uncertainty and challenges that required strong mental resilience.
The pandemic has forced our priorities to change
Faced with unparalleled operational challenges, teams were required to make do with the bare minimum. Sales and business development came up with plans to minimise business disruptions whilst operations had the challenge to quickly plan and implement new safety protocols to minimise the risk of virus spread. Our front desk team was always available to respond to the many concerns that were being raised by our clients. As the virus spread across the country and the globe, the management at ISTC have teamed up with our business partners and experts to maintain the morale of our employees and our stakeholders.
Our first priority is the safety of our team and that of our students
Unlike a tornado or other emergencies, Covid-19, lingers, leaving us all uncertain about the next steps.
We feel an obligation to support our students who are mostly frontline personnel who by virtue intervene in emergency situations, save lives or prevent incidents from happening as part of their daily routine.
As we find ourselves in a new safety reality we have changed procedures the way we work, communicate, shop, travel, connect and of course, the way we deliver training. We understand that many are still concerned about attending a training centre during such times. This is why we have implemented stringent precautionary measures that are continuously reviewed and in line with government guidelines and health authorities.
On arrival at ISTC all delegates have their temperature taken and they complete a detailed health questionnaire. This simple screening process has allowed ISTC to identify several students who were potentially positive or had been in contract with people who were positive. On at least one occasion the college was forced to send all students home and to bring in specialist contractors to fumigate the whole college. The frequency of cleaning all classrooms and common areas has increased and the Safety protocols such as safe distances, new protective equipment and facemasks, provision of hand sanitisation stations, temperature control monitoring, hygiene practices have become the norm and a daily routine. Proper signage and floor markings were installed to manage flow of traffic through the facility and provide visual cues to encourage people to maintain safe distancing. To provide additional peace of mind to our clients and delegates, our marketing team worked on external communication published through our online channels including ISTC’s website and social media channels. In addition, a video was commissioned to highlight our approach to minimise the risk of virus spread and offer additional peace of mind to our future delegates.
Being an island presented a real threat to business continuity especially with airports closing geographical borders and travel restrictions imposed. As an international training centre, ISTC always welcomed and provided training for delegates from around the globe mainly attracting delegates from Libya, Europe and the MENA region. For the first time, our only achievable market was our limited local market.
We did our utmost to offer and deliver an uncompromised level of training to our local clients. This was done in parallel with preventive measures in place whilst also meeting levels and standards in line with regulatory bodies such as JOIFF, OPITO and others.
Online and digital learning program
With a sudden shift away from classroom training, our business development team launched a new range of e-learning programmes and assessments whereby delegates can carry out formal assessments without the need to travel. This could only be possible with the help of our partners, Wild Geese. Some of our online courses can be found on our website under Digital Courses. Amongst other training solutions, formal assessments are available for health and safety officers, the maritime industry, Emergency Response and Digital Bosiet with CA-EBS. Just like with our traditional training programmes all assessments meet international accreditations required by the industry and also suggest a refresher course to stay up to date with industry requirements.
Our training centre
The International Safety Training College (ISTC), Malta, was founded in 2000 and registered as a college in 2012. ISTC operates two leading centres in Malta and Libya (currently dormant) and is part of the Alberta Group, Malta’s largest fire, safety and security company. ISTC is heavily internationalised and operates in many countries outside of Malta. Additionally, ISTC receives overseas students to its site at Hal Far, Malta with students from as far afield as the Far East, South America and beyond. ISTC truly is an international destination of choice in our chosen industry sectors.
ISTC is a premium training provider focusing on emergency response, disaster management, offshore and marine survival, firefighting and fire safety, health, safety and first aid. The classroom training facilities are enhanced by a unique and large incident ground where realistic training is undertaken using ‘real fire’, a range of gas powered fire simulators and a number of aviation, marine, oil and gas and civil defence/fire and rescue training props. The college executive team bring professional experience and expertise from the UK Fire Service, Emergency Response Management, Fire and Rescue and Civil Defence. Our courses combine a mix lecture room theoretical training and / or online assessments with practical ground exercises on site.
Our courses are accredited by internationally recognised certification bodies including JOIFF and OPITO for the oil and gas industry, STCW for the maritime industry, JOIFF and NFPA for both oil and gas and fire services, and CAA for the aviation sector; ISTC also delivers NEBOSH and IOSH health and safety programmes. Our accreditations mean that whatever training personnel require, they can rest assured that it is to an internationally recognised standard delivered by highly qualified and experienced instructors.
The centre welcomes delegates from any size, nature and industry. To address international training needs, we partner up with international entities such as Fire Service College and Wild Geese to provide training for internationally known organisations such as Shell, BP, Kuwait Fire Service Directorate, ORPIC and Civil Protection Departments amongst others.
For Kuwait Fire Service Directorate, we regularly provide training that focus on Advanced Fire-fighting techniques when fighting fires in High Rise buildings, fire-fighting in ‘basements’ and techniques used for ‘Tactical Ventilation’ to enable quick entry into compartments involved in fire.
For Companies like OPRPIC, an Oil and Gas refinery in OMAN, we deliver a number of NFPA Pro Board approved fire related training in conjunction with The Fire Service College, Moreton in Marsh. This is a unique partnership allowing the delivery of NFPA Pro Board accredited courses at ISTC.
ISTC also offers consultancy services to help customers define and meet their legal requirements. Consultancy services tend to focus upon training needs analysis or assessment of fire safety provision.
All business proposals submitted by our consultants are bespoke and tailor-made to each individual client. Depending on requirements, services and/or training can be undertaken in-country or at our centres in Malta and delivered in any language.
For more information, go to www.istcollege.com.mt