Due to the coronavirus outbreak the college closed its doors to staff and students on Friday 20 March, leaving many employers concerned about how their apprentices will be able to complete their training and gain their qualifications.
Throughout the lockdown, the college’s employer engagement team – including account managers and workplace assessors – has been in regular contact with employers to advise them of the measures the college is taking to ensure apprentices can continue studying.
Lessons that apprentices would usually attend at college on a weekly day-release basis are being delivered online, assessments that would be carried out in the workplace are being done virtually or by phone, and assessors are providing support by phone, email and through the college’s social media platforms.
The college has also been providing support to apprentices who have been furloughed during the lockdown and employers have been advised on how they can apply for breaks in learning and reclaim some of the apprentices’ course costs if they are unable to complete certain elements of their training within the required timescale.
Dawn Curtis, colleague coach at Bromford – a housing association with 44,000 homes across the West Midlands and West of England – which currently has four construction apprentices studying at the college said: “This is an unsettling time for businesses everywhere and it has been reassuring for the company and our apprentices to be able to access online resources to enable them to continue studying towards their qualifications, as well as answer any queries that we may have.”
The college currently provides training for around 1300 apprentices working for employers across the Black Country and beyond – to find out more about apprenticeships and enquire about vacancies here