Apr 8 2011 By Alistair Houghton
The e-learning team at CPL Training in Birkenhead, led by Dave Dasher, far left
A WIRRAL training company wants its growing e-learning arm to become a training academy in its own right to help young people win work in the digital sector.
CPL Training’s e-learning business was launched a year ago and today employs 15 people creating training software packages for companies across the UK.
Its courses use 3-D animation and graphics to make online learning more engaging. Courses cover subjects including health and safety, food safety and manual handling.
CPL’s IT director, David Dasher, says the e-learning division functions as a creative business in its own right, and is confident it will grow further and give more young people a route into the digital sector.
Mr Dasher said CPL began developing its own software after failing to find any suitable existing packages.
He said: "As CPL grew, e-learning became more and more important. So we went to see the biggest suppliers and see their products.
"We didn’t like them, so we decided to go and do our own. We went to speak to some of CPL’s clients – people such as Inventive Leisure, the owners of Revolution, and brewer JW Lees.
"They were instrumental in how we designed and developed the software."
The division began taking on more staff to develop games and interactive training technology. It also employs programmers, designers and animators to create 3-D animation for the programmes, as well as to create avatars – talking animations of characters who guide users through the software.
On the fire safety course, for example, the avatar could get an electric shock if they use the wrong type of extinguisher on an electric fire.
Mr Dasher said: "Lots of people use voiceovers. Some people use lots of graphics. Some people use lots of text. We’ve brought it all together.
"We’ve got avatars that we use to act out various scenarios, so the courses are much more fun."
Mr Dasher said clients such as JW Lees had seen more of their employees sign up to training courses since they started using CPL’s software.
"We create products that we want to be proud of," he said. "We want to exceed people’s expectations.
"One thing we’re really proud of is that we haven’t needed to take help calls. We have thousands of people using our software every week, and they don’t make help calls because it’s so easy to use."
Mr Dasher says the business is now offering new products to its clients, including online induction courses.
He said: "People are now sending us their entire induction programme, whether as a PowerPoint or as a Word document, and we’re bringing it to life with graphics and animation."