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Students and apprentices excel in virtual learning environments

Following the Government’s call to stay home and stay safe in a bid to minimise the spread of Covid-19, Eastleigh College students and apprentices have impressed as they’ve relished the opportunity to continue their studies via remote learning.

Learners at Eastleigh College are continuing to receive expert teaching and guidance as they work towards gaining their qualifications. The majority of university places have been secured, and the College’s careers team is still available to support those planning on applying for jobs or apprenticeships. 

Back in February, the College’s IT team worked around the clock to ensure secure software programmes and processes were in place, and provided equipment including Chromebooks to all those who needed them. The IT team also installed and tested a brand new remote connection for staff.

During February lecturers were also adjusting timetables to ensure practical learning and assessments were prioritised before any possible interruption to College activities. This proved advantageous for learners who - following the Government’s announcement on 23 March - were then ideally placed to continue with the theory aspects of their learning online.

Linda Reeves, Media Hair & Make-up lecturer, said: “We acted swiftly and students all worked hard to complete assessments ahead of time. They have had a really mature approach and have shown excellent ability to adapt to virtual learning and think outside of the box.”

Counselling lecturer, Dr Neil MacFarlane, added: “The diploma counselling team delivered an impressive process of creating a managed transfer from in-class to online teaching. The technology was introduced to two groups of students in early March, with an in-class demonstration of Google Meet, followed up by a transition stage of mixed in-class and online students, before moving to all groups online. 

“This has been successful because staff have been proactive in testing and demonstrating the technology, solving problems and accessing help from IT when necessary."

Speaking from the learners’ perspective Level 3 student, Lucas Renyard, explained that the continued support of the college ensures learners are being kept engaged, meeting their targets and taking a step closer to their aspirations.

Lucas is studying a Uniformed Public Services course, so the impact of the coronavirus pandemic is close to his heart. He said: “Staying at home directly helps our key workers including all the uniformed public services. In public service, adapting to the situation at hand is key; and that’s what I have been able to show. Stay safe, stay at home, but don’t let the situation stop you from chasing your career.”

In addition to running full and part time courses across a wide range of industry areas, Eastleigh College’s thriving apprenticeship programmes deliver training for employers across the Solent and South Hampshire region.

Paul Cox, Eastleigh College’s Chief Executive and Principal Designate, concluded: “I’m extremely impressed with the way staff and learners have swiftly adapted to new ways of working in order to help the national effort to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. 

Despite the current challenges I’m seeing and hearing about many fantastic examples of excellent teaching and learning. One electrical and technical organisation we work with expressed their appreciation that their apprentices had experienced minimal disruption to their learning, and that they were really impressed with the way the team has proactively and rapidly adapted to this new way of working.

Our priority is the wellbeing of our learners, staff and community, and we’re working hard to continue to provide support where needed as the coronavirus situation continues to evolve.”