The Engineering Trust

Stepping up our virtual learning capabilities

The Covid-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way in which we interact with our learners. With the current climate looking set to be with us for a while longer, it is clear that providers who are delivering learning and apprenticeships have to be flexible in their approach with the ability to adapt to circumstances as they progress over the coming weeks and months.

Over the last two years we have invested in and developed online solutions to enhance our delivery of apprenticeship training. This has included an e-portfolio system that enables apprentices to have 24/7 access to their work and easily upload evidence whilst also enhancing the collaboration between us and our employers. It has been instrumental in our ability to continue delivering training and assessment during this difficult period and I can only imagine how much harder this would be if we were still 100% paper based. 

We have also invested in new software to enhance our recruitment process, automating some areas of the process that used to be manual, enabling us to put our efforts into finding good quality talent for our employers to select as new apprentices. 

New Virtual Learning Environment

More recently we have invested in a solution for learning in a virtual world. Our new Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) will enable us to work even closer with our apprentices, giving them access to learning materials and resources as well as the ability to sit assessments to ensure they have gained the required knowledge. 

Over the next month we will begin rolling out our VLE to all of our apprentices, adding value to their learning through access to short courses and more learning materials. It will also be used to induct all new apprentices, moving that process into a virtual environment to ensure the current situation does not prohibit new starts in any way.  

What are the capabilities of our VLE? 

The short answer is “huge”. The options available to us within the VLE are wide ranging and we aim to engage with all our employers to explore how we can enhance the delivery to their apprentices via the VLE. Our employers have robust company training plans and aligning those to our VLE would be massively beneficial, especially where apprentices undertake specific assessments to prove knowledge and competence against its requirements. 

As I say, the options we have with the VLE in place are wide ranging and we are working hard to ensure that it adds value to our already robust and quality driven apprenticeship programmes. 

The Future  

Working within the engineering and manufacturing sector means we will never be an organisation that can deliver in a purely virtual environment. Whilst the current restrictions have given us opportunities to look at new ways of delivery, we will revert back to a blended delivery model once the alert level allows for an increase in people movement. The VLE will play an important part, allowing the virtual element of the model to be effective and complement the excellent face-to-face work our Training Officers do with our apprentices. 

Written by Melvyn, Operations Manager.