COVID 19 – DIRECTORS UPDATE
Friday 5th February 2021
The introduction of a national lockdown by government will have a range of implications for the way in which Skillwise and SW Training will continue to provide outstanding support to its many learners, apprentices and employers. Government guidance and expectation is having to change on an almost daily basis to address the significant challenge that the pandemic continues to present. As an organisation it is our intention to update you as often as is deemed purposeful and helpful. I hope that the following provides both learners and employers with the latest key information and goes someway to answer any questions or queries that you might have at this time.
Teaching and learning for the vast majority of learners and apprentices will be delivered online through Microsoft Teams until at March 8th 2021. Live taught sessions will be delivered through this medium as per a learner’s normal learning plan. Your Programme Coach and course tutors will communicate any adjustments to delivery and assessment that may affect you.
We have developed a range of online interventions to ensure that apprentices are able to continue their studies in line with government guidelines. Coaching and learner review sessions will be help via MS Teams until a return to face to face meetings is safe and permissible.
Face to face support will be available for learners with SEND or deemed to be vulnerable in line with government guidelines.
Learners who do not have access to an appropriate device for online learning or no internet access are asked to make their programme coach or tutor aware so they can follow up with the senior leadership team. We will do our best to arrange the loan of any necessary equipment. Where this is not possible, we may contact you to discuss alternative arrangements that might include some face to face support to ensure that you do not get behind with your studies.
February Examinations and External Assessments
As a provider we recognise that learners have worked really hard to prepare for their exams and assessments. We also appreciate that some learners are reliant on completing external assessments to secure licence to practice or professional status that is important to their career or advancement in work. Where our learners are able and want to take the exam they have prepared for, we will allow them the opportunity to do so. We will therefore be continuing with the agreed timetable of exams in February where government guidelines allow, this may include remote invigilation of online exams and assessments.
Each learner will know best their own individual situations and will know how they personally feel about sitting their exam. If any learner does not feel able to come into work or our centre, we will support this decision and ensure that they are supported to complete the assessment at an alternative time or through any adaptive assessment protocols that may be put in place by the OFQUAL and the awarding bodies in response to the pandemic. No learner will be dis-advantaged if they choose not to sit their exam at this time. Learners are asked to confirm this with their personal coach or tutor by email.
Learners who do wish to attend their exams are asked to complete a COVID-19 lateral flow test 24- 48 hours prior to sitting the assessment. Details are available by contacting email@example.com
We would ask that all learners attending exams conform to this request and provide evidence to their course tutor or programme coach prior to the exam and be ready to share the confirmation of a negative test outcome on entry to the exam.
Mental Health and Well-being
Safeguarding, welfare and learning support will be available and operating as normal. Learners are encouraged to use the normal contact numbers and referral protocols where support and/or help is needed. We recognise that periods of lockdown can be challenging for everyone and we would encourage learners to access the resources also available via the mental health and well being information sheet on the website www.skillwise.biz
Skillwise have trained 8 members of staff in mental health first aid who are on hand to support you should you need any assistance in relation to your mental health and wellbeing. Please contact your coach or tutor in the first instance.
During this lockdown period, Skillwise will continue to provide an education to all our apprentices via a virtual platform. Teaching and learning will be provided as per their normal timetable.
If you have taken the decision to utilise furlough within your business for your apprentices, they can still continue with all Apprenticeship learning whilst furloughed and we would strongly encourage all apprentices to continue with their learning programmes during this lockdown wherever possible.
Separate arrangements and specific communication will be sent if End Point Assessments are scheduled this month for your apprentice, as in many instances these will continue.
If you have any queries about the above, please do not hesitate to contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org
These are difficult times and I thank all our employer partners for their commitment to supporting their apprentices during this time.
My priority is to ensure that learning can continue safely and effectively. Should you have any specific questions related to this communication please contact the respective coach or tutor. Further updates will be posted on our website and through our social media platforms.
As stated earlier we recognise that situations can change rapidly in this pandemic and where that affects studies, we will update you promptly. Please be reassured that we are focused both on learner safety and achievement of qualifications.
Director – Skillwise Training UK Limited