The Further Education and Training sector is here to provide support to frontline staff, learners, and employers.
—By Andrew Brownlee, CEO, SOLAS
Our professional, home, and social lives have changed beyond recognition. We are living in a time of stress and uncertainty, and we understand that this is a challenging time for everyone.
Supporting healthcare workers
ETBs around the country are looking at where there are urgent skills gaps as a result of Covid-19, and how they can help to fill these gaps. One such example is Laois-Offaly Education and Training Board, which is currently providing bitesize online training in Infection Prevention and Control to those with sufficient minimum qualifications, which will increase the number of frontline staff tackling the crisis.
Some ETBs have donated their PPE equipment to frontline workers, and are using their 3D printing technology to produce face masks. ETBs are also using their training kitchens to prepare meals for healthcare staff; and have given the use of their vehicles to organisations and people who need it most.
Moving to online learning
The safety of our learners and tutors is our priority, and from webinars to Zoom, we’re delighted to see ETBs nationwide facilitating their learners, apprentices and tutors with online learning.
SOLAS has also made its eCollege platform available free of charge – which means those already doing a FET course who would like to augment their learning, and those who have recently become unemployed or had their hours reduced, can upskill and reskill in a range of digital skills.
The crisis will have a long-term impact on our economy, on workers, and on employers. We’re currently working hard to make sure that SOLAS will be there to meet the needs of workers and employers once this crisis has passed, by providing upskilling and reskilling courses to the sectors that will need it most urgently.
Encouraging community learning
We understand that for parents with literacy difficulties, helping children with their schoolwork can be daunting. NALA is offering free, over-the-phone tuition on topics ranging from fun learning resources to kids, to support for those who may need help understanding health information, and ETBs continue to offer supports at this time.