The Further Education and Skills sector responded to the pandemic in an incredibly responsible & effective way by transforming their education & skills programmes to online platforms and offering an array of virtual support and development to their students, employers and staff, not just to continue learning but also to support wellbeing and mental health.
Online learning has allowed training providers & colleges to engage with their students in a different way and many have stated that attendance has increased during this period. All Further Education & Skills providers have found inventive & creative ways to keep learners motivated and made online sessions not only engaging but challenging so skills & progress can evolve. There has been a very positive response from students to not only supporting learning, but also personal matters and new ways of working has allowed students to work together in environments they wouldn’t normally have engaged with – one student from Selby College stated “Online learning has enabled myself and my fellow students to collaborate and share ideas, which are available during and after lessons. It has proven to be an effective way of course delivery with a seamless transition from face-to-face learning to online
Creating an innovative, digital curriculum offer to meet skills gaps & needs has also allowed smaller businesses and adult learners who have not engaged with traditional training to commence development programmes that will support them personally & professionally and as a sector everyone is working hard to ensure the curriculum remains impactful, high quality and responsive to change whilst incorporating digital technology and virtual training opportunities as part of our future delivery arrangements. Although the pandemic may have forced the sector down a digital route more prematurely than some wanted or expected, the sector is resilient and passionate about what they do for learners & we all recognise, appreciate & support that education delivery has changed forever.
The sector is more than prepared & ready for new patterns & behaviors of working & learning, but it is also important that we take the time to reflect, recognise & celebrate the transformative action that has been taken to support apprenticeships & skills development over the past 12 months. A local training provider, Northern Regeneration, have not only continued to recruit Construction apprentices at The Construction Skills Village during this pandemic but to celebrate their hard work & achievement have also started a new initiative to plant a tree for every new apprentice created.
For further case studies & access links to further reading on covid impacts & successes in the sector please visit – www.wylp.org.uk
– thanks to Selby College & Northern Regeneration for sharing information for this blog.
Written by Alex Miles, Managing Director, West & North Yorkshire Learning Providers. Working with the York & North Yorkshire LEP to implement, develop & grow skills strategies and opportunities across the region.
Read more stories like this one in our Annual Report 2021