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May 19, 2020

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Contact tracing and COVID-19 director’s briefing


FESS apprentices benefiting from remote learning

Like many others in the sector taking advantage of remote learning opportunities, fire, emergency and security systems (FESS) training providers have been taking innovative approaches to minimise disruption to apprentices during the coronavirus pandemic.

When lockdown measures and widespread closures were announced in March, the Government announced that furloughed apprentices could continue their training in different ways, so long as they do not provide services to or generate revenue for their employer.

With over 1,000 apprentices currently enrolled on the Fire, Emergency and Security Systems Technician Apprenticeship Standard, training providers worked quickly on solutions to deliver their learning remotely, using a range of web-based teaching, conferencing and resource-sharing software.

READ: Find out all you need to know about the FESS Apprenticeship Scheme

Banham Academy is an example of one provider who rapidly established an online learning programme for the apprentices it would normally teach in-house on a block release basis.

“We quickly transferred what was being taught in a classroom environment to something that could be delivered effectively online,” said Kevin Faulkner, Banham Academy’s Operations Director. “Using a mix of online platforms, those apprentices due to be at the academy have attended live interactive presentations given by the tutors throughout the week,” he said.

Each day the apprentices work through a full schedule and received comprehensive tutoring and support to ensure learning outcomes are still met. Workbooks and online drop-in feedback sessions are also available to assist the apprentices.

“Employers have provided apprentices with laptops to aid their studies and some have given systems equipment, so practical skills can be maintained,” Kevin added. “This can be demonstrated online by the apprentices to the tutors, so that feedback and training can still be provided by video link. We’re pleased that so far, the whole experience has been embraced by students. Some have even requested extra revision resources and are asking to complete online training over and above their planned schedule.”

Another provider, Training 2000, has also been also quick to adapt to the new restrictions placed on the education network. “Using remote teaching we’ve been able to ensure all three apprentice year groups have not missed any learning time,” said Matt Jeans, Engineering Assessor. “We’ve used a range of methods such as online presentations, videos, quizzes and downloadable resources, but still within a standard classroom schedule.”

“We’ve received positive feedback from students and it’s allowed us to explore how in the longer term we might change the way we deliver some aspects of our training.”

The FESS Employer Group is responsible for the FESS Apprenticeship Standard and has been pleased to see how training providers have taken swift action to help apprentices during the pandemic. “It’s clear that training providers’ ability to adapt has delivered some encouraging outcomes in what is an unprecedented time of concern for the industry,” said Pat Allen, chair of the FESS Employer Group. “As we discover more best practice around how training providers are helping apprentices to stay on track, we can look at lessons to be learnt from remote working in this way and how it can benefit apprentices and employers in the future.”

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