Apprenticeship Delivery following easing of COVID-19 restrictions

The past few months have been a challenging time for many. The impacts have been different for everyone but for us, perhaps the greatest difficulty has been the disruption caused to the apprenticeship programme that we run due to the practical nature of the courses that we deliver. However, we’ve been able to continue some delivery online, keeping our apprentices in a learning mindset and stretching them during the period of uncertainty!

We’ve worked hard to overcome the difficulties associated with face to face learning and in the next month, we intend to restart practical skills training for apprentices currently on scheme, and then in October, we’ll be welcoming our new cohorts. We’ve set out the steps that we’ve had to take to get us to this stage.

Some examples of how the Academy supports Apprentices during normal operation

  • Our Early Careers Team are on hand from day one to offer support, advice and guidance to apprentices through the induction.
  • Our open door policy means that apprentices know that they’re always welcome to approach team members at any time whether they’re at the Academy or on site.
  • Apprentice Cohort Representatives are established from within each group and work with the Early Careers Team to capture issues as and when they arise.
  • We have three designated safeguarding officers who actively monitor and engage with safeguarding activities.
  • Our Assessors work with individuals throughout their apprenticeship along with the trainers who support and guide where necessary.
  • We also have a dedicated apprentice cohort WhatsApp group so apprentices can contact the Early Careers team at any time of day.

What we’ve done during the COVID-19 pandemic to support Apprentices

We have organised regular communications with Managers and Apprentices to understand the situation of each person and we’ve worked with them to provide the best solutions to support during the period, including but not limited to:

  • Issuing homework tasks which have been designed to continue to challenge and motivate apprentices.
  • Redesigned the BTEC delivery approach so that it’s accessible digitally instead of the traditional classroom format
  • Reviewed the approach we take for NVQ delivery and carrying out progress reviews, ensuring that the Academy assessors reach out to Apprentices via Microsoft Teams instead of in person.
  • Continually reviewed the status of Apprentices to ensure whether they are furloughed, working from home or working from site that they are issued with tasks that are appropriate to their situation.

Steps we’re taking to welcome Apprentices back to the Academy

We have worked with each of our customers to establish COVID-19 protocols and risk assessments so that we know who is in a position to restart some form of face to face activity. This has led to the implementation of a number of safety measures, including:

  • We have development of some rigorous safety measures to overcome the COVID-19 threat at the Engineering Academy site.
  • Practical training delivery is scheduled to commence on the 3rd  August for apprentices who are in their second year of training.
  • Face to face NVQ observations have started locally which take into account each individual site’s procedures for COVID-19. Further travel considerations will be reviewed in the coming week.
  • Continued telephone and online support is being provided to Apprentices from the Early Careers Team whilst they are both on site and at the Academy.

It’s clear that we’re a long way from any sense of normality but it has been possible to keep our learners engaged and for apprentices to continue to make progress during this challenging time. We’re not sure what the future holds but we’re confident that the Engineering Academy will remain the same supportive and caring team who will do everything we can to deliver innovative, inspiring and impactful learning solutions to support your development.

If you’re an employer and would like to find out more about our apprenticeship and how it could support your business then you can click here for online information, alternatively, please do get in touch with us directly.