Creatio Curated is a series of articles designed to help you get to know some of our key partners. In this article John Cuswoth of GBS Apprenticeships talks about the use of remote delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic and how it's helping to ensure that apprentices can continue with their training.
The world of further education, like every other sector, is in the midst of something totally unprecedented and it’s in times such as this that we must pull together to work rationally, apply common sense and find new ways to support our learners.
As an independent training provider, GBS Apprenticeships may not receive the same levels of government support as schools and colleges, however, we see this as our chance to lead by example with new ways of working to support employers and apprentices alike. Many people may assume it’s easy to switch to remote delivery and continue delivering training, but thats not always the case. Have we considered the learners who are at the heart of what we do? Do we know if they have limited ability to access remote or distance learning? What if they are classed as essential key workers working normal day-time hours? This would mean they are unable to attend live remote sessions or webinars between 9am and 5pm. There are many more circumstances that may limit an apprentices access to remote learning, so we must consider every option and make sure our resources are available in a number different ways.
We were able to switch to 100% remote delivery very quickly and in fact have a number of clients who adopted this approach a long time ago. With the nature of our clients businesses and sectors in which we deliver apprenticeships, embracing technology to its fullest has been almost seamless with all our apprentices having access to PCs or laptops. During these unprecedented times we continue to deliver live webinars to cohorts and still conduct 1-2-1 sessions with learners over Teams, Zoom or Google Hangout. To make sure we accommodate everyone, the webinars are video recorded and are broken down into bitesize sessions so apprentices unable to log in to live sessions can stream the sessions at their own convenience one hour at a time.
In recent days, there have been some very positive movements from government, notably that apprentices placed on furlough can continue with their apprenticeship training. We are also hearing that Awarding Organisations may be able to offer remote assessment for Functional Skills exams, some with proctoring services, and EPAOs are looking to do the same wherever possible for their assessments. These initiatives, should they come off, will go a long way to ensuring the FE sector continues to operate successfully and efficiently. However, there are still testing times ahead so providers, Awarding Organisations and EPAOs must continue to work in harmony and without dropping standards.
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