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Top tips to starting a course

This month our Marketing Specialist, Flick, gives her top tips to starting your new course. She says that “pre-start nerves are normal, but if you know how to set a plan and prepare yourself physically and mentally you can stop those nerves from holding you back”.

A lot of people are nervous to start their course. They have found a course that they want to complete, and they have contacted the provider to start and have built it up in their mind so much that now they are nervous to do it.

French bulldog sleeping

Tip #1 – The night before starting the course

This might seem like a standard but make sure you get a good night’s sleep the night before. We aren’t saying that you must get X amount of hours sleep, different people function on different amounts of sleep. Our very own Sam Cook very often has only a few hours sleep a night and feels alert, awake and ready for the day. Whereas Flick is the sort of person who needs at least 7 hours sleep to feel rested.

You know your own body, and what sleep you need to get to feel rested. Whatever is natural for your circadian cycle, so that you wake on the day of the course alert and rested.

When you are tired you are more likely to get distracted and lose concentration. This is because your brain needs sleep to focus. Not getting enough sleep means that the communication between your brain cells is disrupted which can cause memory lapses and poor concentration. The solution is simple, get a decent amount of shut eye.

Apple on books

Tip #2 – Fuel your brain

When you are hungry, and we mean truly hungry, it’s all you can think about. You can’t concentrate when you’re hungry (Snickers have made an entire advertising campaign around this fact!). We would recommend a good filling meal before you start your course. Does your course is in the morning; make sure you have a good breakfast. If your course starts in the afternoon, then a hearty lunch beforehand will set you up ready for it.

If you want to, you can choose to consume brain boosting foods like fruits, nuts, eggs and avocados, but in reality so long as your stomach isn’t rumbling the entire way through the lesson we don’t care what you eat. Although we would suggest that you avoid foods which make you feel sluggish and lethargic – hot chocolate is not something Flick would drink if she wanted to stay awake!

Again, you know your body better than we ever will. If you feel awake and alert after eating a large Big Mac meal with a milkshake and mozzarella sticks from McDonalds; go for it! If you feel more alert after a fresh crisp salad, eat that instead. We aren’t trying to say what you should eat, it’s more important that you eat so that you’re not thinking of food during the lesson.

Drinking water

Tip #3 – Starting a course is thirsty work

Just as we need to fuel our brain, we also need to water it. In some circumstances it helps to think of your brain as a complicated plant – it needs fuel and water in order to grow!

We know many people struggle to drink their daily recommended amount of water (if they didn’t, we wouldn’t be able to get water bottles with hourly reminders on them!). We would also recommend a drink of squash over a fizzy sugary drink. Our office ladies are no different, they drink copious amounts of coffee to stay alert throughout the day, but they also have a bottle of water on their desks which they sip in between the coffees.

Drinking water before and during your course will help to keep you hydrated and alert through the lesson. There’s a reason why exams allow you to have a clear water bottle on the table, water helps your brain think.

We would also recommend that before you start the lesson that you go to the toilet. Stopping a lesson to go to the toilet can sometimes be a distraction. It distracts you as you will probably check your phone on the way to the bathroom. You will have also stopped the lesson for any others attending too.

Mobile phone and study book

Tip #4 – Avoiding distractions

There are 101 things that distract us every day. When we get distracted, it takes us 23 minutes and 15 seconds regain our focus (according to a University of California Irvine study). If you are in an hour long lesson, that’s a third of your lesson time that you lose because of distractions.

There is a simple trick to avoiding distractions, switch as many as you can think of OFF. Not on silent so that you can still feel when your phone buzzes in your pocket or on your desk. Switch it to complete silence; no vibrate, no sounds, and put it out of your eye-line. In a bag or behind you or in a pocket. If you see it you’re more likely to pick it up and check it for notifications.

The same with your laptop, especially when it’s a virtual classroom, switch off notifications coming through to your laptop. We have all seen when someone gets a notification pop up on their screen which distracts them. Simply turn them off. Make others know that they are not to disturb you during the time of your course. You will be more likely to be able to focus for the full hour.

Tip #5 – The equipment you need to start your course

It’s not a good idea to go skydiving if you haven’t got a parachute. It’s the same logic with your course; there’s no point going to a computer programming course if you don’t have access to a computer. Make sure that you are prepared for starting your course.

If you have received information about your course, you should have been told what will be needed for that first lesson. If you haven’t, or you cannot find the information, don’t be afraid to ask the question. Tutors and training providers would rather you ask them what is needed for the course, rather than turning up without something.

As a fail-safe, we would recommend attending that first lesson with a minimum of two pens and a notepad. We recommend two pens. Then if one runs out or stops working mis way through your focussed notetaking, then you have a backup.

If the lesson is being delivered online, make sure that you have tested the system that will be used to deliver the lesson. It’s no good to have to download Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or others, as the lesson is starting. Test that it works on your device before the lesson starts. This means that you will be ready to start when your tutor is.

What does this mean for you?

If you follow these top tips to starting your course, we are confident that you will be alert, attentive and focused. Following these tips won’t guarantee that you will complete the course or that you will achieve the qualification, but we are confident that, by following these tips and tricks you will have a better chance of doing so.

These tips aren’t just for starting your course, if you follow them before each lesson, you will have a higher chance of retaining all that you have been taught and completing your qualification.

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How does Enable operate our courses?

A lot of people are often curious as to how Enable operates when it comes to delivering courses. We offer courses which are free to sign up and others which must be paid for by learners… so how does this work? What is the difference between the courses?

In this month’s blog post we taker a look into how Enable works and how this affects you and our courses.

Funding rules

You might see the word “funding” banded around on our website, on our social media and when you speak to us about training. But what does it mean when it comes to your enrolment?

ESFA Logo

Simply speaking, we offer “funded” and “non-funded” courses. In a nutshell, “funded courses” are free (with certain restrictions, mostly location based) and “non-funded courses” are paid for by the participants.

ESF Logo

With funded courses, we do still get paid for them (in case you were worried!), it’s just that we get paid by the agency to deliver them. This can be the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) or the European Social Fund (ESF) or another organisation. You’ll be able to spot who is paying us to deliver these courses as their logo will appear on the marketing we create, the paperwork for the course as well as on the course page on our website.

Various funding agencies support us in the delivery of the courses, sometimes there can be more than one agency which is responsible for funding the course. This can often mean that if you have questions regarding the course, we can sometimes take a little longer to respond as we have to get the information from various funding agencies. This includes them signing off any marketing materials we wish to produce for the course.

As our funded courses are governed by the person paying to deliver them, they can often have restrictions for learners to be classed as “eligible”. Usually this is a location based restriction, however this is sometimes based on employment status too.

For example, our Community Learning Courses are limited to those living in the Nottingham City Council. This is because the course is funded by the ESFA and we are subcontracted by Nottingham City Council. Their house, their rules. As much as we would love to deliver all of our courses to everyone across the UK, sometimes we have to turn people down as we will not get funding for them to do the course.

What is subcontracting courses?

Contracts

As you will know if you have read our first blog post, you will know that Enable is a group of training providers and charities all with a similar goal. Enable applies for the funding from the agencies and we can either deliver the courses directly, or we are able to subcontract to others.

Subcontracting means that we may hold the contract for the course, and the arrangement with the funding agency, but we can use the funding to pay others to deliver the course. Occasionally it works the other way whereby we are the subcontractors on behalf of other’s funding contracts.

This is all dependent on the contract and agreement that we have with the funding agency as to whether we are allowed to subcontract or not. Some of our courses do not allow for this, which means that as much as we would love to support other training providers, we must offer direct delivery for the contract to be fulfilled.

Some of the more popular courses which we subcontract out are our Adult Education Budget (AEB) and Traineeships. This means that we pay other training providers to deliver the course on behalf of Enable. Learners on these courses are still classed as “Enable learners” but their tutor may work for another provider. All paperwork is processed by the team at Enable and this means our core team may occasionally have to contact learners if some information is missing from the paperwork.

You may have noticed last summer that we put out a “tender call” to our members and followers to apply to deliver our AEB and traineeships on behalf of Enable.

Tender Calls are where we are advertising to others that we would like to subcontract out some of our funding and training providers can apply to work with us on a contract. There is often an application process with strict deadlines to be followed. Training providers must be a member of Enable in order to deliver on our contracts.

How Enable’s membership scheme operates?

Members

You may have spotted on our social media that we mention our members and our membership programme. We also have a whole section of our website dedicated to our members. We aren’t planning any revolutions with our membership and we aren’t looking to start any political parties with it. We simply have a “next level” for those who are interested in the work that we do.

If you have only recently heard of Enable, we will forgive you for not knowing a lot about us and what we get up to. You might have started by following us on social media, then signing up to our monthly newsletter, but you might wonder what is the next step?

Our membership is free for 12 months (and we currently have no plans to change that), we set it up for a 12 month rolling plan, meaning that you will need to renew after a year or you can choose to leave the membership if it’s no longer for you.

We certainly think that it’s worth it, as it grants you next level intel into the amazing work that we do. Our members get our exclusive membership update where they can hear about the latest courses, weeks before we announce it to the public. They receive support from Enable with tailor made courses and discounts on our training opportunities as well as the ability to network with other members.

On top of this we also give our members the first available booking slots for our Annual Conference and Celebrations and will often invite our members to give a presentation at the event itself.

Members are also able to apply for our “tender calls”, as we said above. Part of the application process of the subcontracting is that our subcontractors must be a member of Enable.

Our members can also nominate and elect the Enable Board of Trustees. This means that our members are a real integral part of Enable; they can help to shape the future of the charity and we will help to support them in all their endeavours too! All this for a couple of steps to sign up, and for free, we certainly think it is worth a couple of clicks.

Recently some of our members suggested a new awarding body for Enable to use for our courses. This has led to us being able to offer a wider range of courses as each awarding body has a different curriculum. We are constantly growing with our members support and we are supporting them for their future.

Awarding bodies – what are they?

Graduation

Unless you are in the industry, the chances are you haven’t heard the phrase “awarding body” since you were at school doing GCSEs, CSEs, NVQs, A Levels etc. and even then it was probably only mentioned in passing.

So while Enable are a training provider, and your course might be delivered by our subcontracted members, and paid for by a funding agency – we still have to adhere to the curriculum set out by the awarding body.

When you take an accredited course with us, you will be registered with an awarding body. These are the organisations which set out the study topics for you to achieve the qualification. We should mention here that awarding bodies are solely involved with our accredited courses.

So while you were at school you may have heard of AQA as an awarding body, or EdExcel? These are some of the many awarding bodies available in the UK for providing qualifications. It means that you get a certificate authorised by them at the end of the course. They’ve accredited it.

We use several different awarding bodies for our courses, depending on the funding agency (different ones might request a certain awarding body as part of the contract). Or it could be based on who we are subcontracting for, in which case the contract holder tells us the awarding body and the curriculum. It may even be the case whereby we can choose the awarding body, in this case we try to choose the one we feel is most suitable for our learners.

Non-accredited learning is for our courses which do not have an awarding body and we produce the certificate at the end of the course.

What does this all mean?

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding as to the way that Enable operates, who we are held responsible to and how we run our courses. All the topics discussed here can sometimes feel a little confusing when we are talking to someone on the outside of the education industry.

Many of the opportunities we offer have been created based on feedback we have received and people asking us for certain training.

If you have any questions about how our courses are run, or would like to know more about our membership programme, please contact us.

Why up to date training is important?

It’s always important to keep your training up to date.

We hear it all the time that up-to-date training is important for certain careers and job roles. Does that mean that it’s less important for other jobs and roles? Up to date training is mandatory in certain circumstances but can be really beneficial in others. This month’s blog post looks at why you should think about staff and personal training more in today’s market…

Staying ahead of the curve.

Stay ahead with training

If you are in a profession where it is constantly developing (there aren’t many that aren’t, to be fair) such as a medical or legal professions then you’ll now that there is always something which is changing and you need to keep on top. This is the same with all other professions.

Ask anyone in marketing or sales and they will tell you how fast the market moves and how much they have to adapt and change to stay fresh and up to date. Our own Marketing Specialist attends weekly training sessions with marketing experts to keep our marketing materials up to date.

There are those within businesses who will legally need to keep their training up to date. It’s bad practise to have a first aider who doesn’t have the latest training. This would cause you more problems than saving money on their training would solve. Having your first aid training run out of date can also face legal ramifications. This is the same with lots of topics such as safeguarding and General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

Why should employers pay for their staff training?

Employers investing in training

Most of you will recognise the quote from Sir Richard Branson; “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to”. This famous quote shows there’s no mystery as to how he became the owner of the Virgin Group.

If you invest in the future of your staff, they are more likely to invest in the future of your business. Look at LinkedIn and you will be able to spot the workers who feel valued in their jobs. They’ll most likely be shouting about how wonderful their job is on social media.

By offering your staff up to date training, you will aid with your own staff retention. People will want to work for a business which cares about them. 9 times out of 10 they will work harder if they feel appreciated within their role.

As an employer, it is in your best interest to offer your staff a wide range of training opportunities. There will be businesses with courses that are “fully funded”, meaning that they are of no cost to your business to have your staff in training.

What courses should you offer to your staff?

What training to choose

Search the internet and you will find a wide range of courses, webinars and training which will be available. Some of these will specifically state that they are designed for Continuous Professional Development (CPD). Others may not state this but are still useful to your staff.

Some of the best courses for your staff will be the ones that your staff find for themselves. After all, they know what topics they will be interested in. Sometimes your staff will use work training as the opportunity to try new skills and for their own development. If they request the training, they are more likely to complete the training as they have shown an interest in the topic.

Other courses may be mandatory for their job, annual refresher training on GDPR for example. So long as other courses are on offer, staff will be understanding of the need for mandatory training. Keeping a record of staff training will cover you for any legal requirements of the training.

For more tips and tricks as to how to find the right course, see our February blog post.

Should you do training when looking for work?

So far we have taken a look at why up to date training is important when you are an employer or in a job, but so many people (particularly through the pandemic) are out of work. Should people looking for work still complete training? Yes. Yes you should.

Not only does training and volunteering count as evidence in your Universal Credit/Jobseekers Allowance evidence, but potential new employers are more likely to look kindly on someone who shows enthusiasm for enhancing their skills. It will show employers that you are passionate about your own future and willing to put in work to get the best out of yourself.

Training opportunities are often available for people looking for work. We at Enable have a wide range of free courses for people who want to develop their skills in various areas. Take a look at some of our Courses and Opportunities for more information. Most of ours are actually designed to help you get into employment.

Attending training courses while you are unemployed, will keep you in a work mindset, demonstrate to employers that you are good at time management, and you are dedicated to your own personal development. Attending training while looking for work you will show potential employers more skills than just those learned in the training course itself.

In short, whether you are an employee, an employer or looking for work, you should make keeping up to date training your highest importance. It will make you as an individual more desirable to businesses and employers. For businesses it will help with:

  • Staff retention
  • Business development and
  • Aid your business image

Staff are more likely to share good stories on social media from a business which cares about it’s staff.

Up to date training is the best thing you can invest in. So get out there and see what your next training opportunity will be! Let us know in the comments how often you attend training and what’s the next course, webinar, or training session you are enrolled on.

#enableyourfuture

Finding the right course for you

Finding the right course blog banner

Our Admin Lead and Marketing Specialist, Flick, gives her advice about finding the right course for you…

“How do I find the right course for me?” I hear this a lot! There are so many courses available out there it can often feel like finding a needle in a haystack.

Don’t worry. We’ve got a magnet to help your search!

In this month’s blog post I’m taking a look into how you can find the perfect course for you. This might not mean a course that’s with us, and that’s okay, we are passionate about your future. Yours. Not ours with you.

Let’s take a look at that magnet:

“It’s the passion which keeps us alive”

Do you have a passion for a topic? Start there. It seems like such a simple answer for where to start but it really is that – simple!

I recall when preparing to do my Independent Study (Dissertation) for University, my tutor said to us “pick a topic that you love. If you don’t love it at the start, you won’t finish it because that mild interest will turn to hate”. This is what has been the driving force for me since that day. If you’re not interested in a subject, you won’t commit to it!

So start with your interests – have you recently read something which sparked your interest? Have you heard of a job that sounds interesting to you but you know you’d need qualifications to get it?

It’s no good trying to be interested in what other people are interested in. I’ve known people who try to be interested in something because other people are and it just doesn’t work out. It ends up causing them either heartache or headaches. My advice – steer clear of trying to do this!

You’re in control of your course decision. Not everyone was born to be the next Stephen Hawking – if you’re not interested in physics, don’t try to be! Be true to yourself. And if you don’t know what interests you, research!

I personally got into the job I wanted to as I loved the idea of being in an office with my fingers dancing across the keys… I had no idea WHAT sort of office I wanted to work in. I just loved the idea of hearing keyboards clacking and my high heels clicking as I walked across the office to the coffee machine. So I went for a job in administration, and I’ve learned and I’ve grown since that point!

It’s the same with your search, have a starting point. An interest. A passion. Build on that and there’ll be no knowing where it might lead you!

Your time is precious.

We are all busy people in our own right. Whether you’re the sort of busy person who watches Netflix all day, or are the sort of person who never seems to sit down, your time is important to you. We understand this.

You’re not going to want to enrol on a course which doesn’t fit with your schedule. You like doing the things you like. So why enrol on a course which is going to take you away from those things?

Just as the above, if a course takes you away from the things you like to do, you’re not going to enjoy it. You’ll end up resenting it. And, you’ll (most likely) drop out of the course to go back to the things you enjoy!

Trust us, we’ve seen it happen! People enrol on a course and then, because they have to choose between their morning yoga (which they’ve been doing for 12 years) and the course, they choose the yoga – rather them than me, personally! (I’ve never been that flexible)

So once you have found a course which interests you, make sure the course fits around you and your schedule. Yes, you may have to move a few things around to make time for study, but so long as you don’t have to stop doing the things you love to do, it could be the course for you!

Nobody like to be taken away from the things they enjoy!

“It’s all about the money, money, money!”

Yes, unfortunately, not all courses are funded nor free (insert sad face emoji here). So you need to consider the financial implications of the courses you are looking at.

One of the first questions to ask yourself is “How is the course paid for?”

Enable has a wide range of courses which are free to people living in certain areas, or who are out of work. But it’s no good applying for these courses if they don’t fit with the above two points… signing up for a course just because it’s free doesn’t make it the right course for you! This is why cost is the third thing you need to look at.

Some courses will operate on a sort of “Buy Now, Pay Later” option. For example, our Access to Higher Education courses can be paid for with an Advanced Learner Loan which you don’t pay back until you are earning over a certain threshold OR, if you head off to University after completion, the loan is replaced by your Student Finance loan.

We also have courses which will gain you qualifications and work experience while you continue to claim your Universal Credit/Job Seekers Allowance, such as our Traineeships. So while the course will not cost you anything directly, you will be earning while you learn, it also counts towards your Universal Credit/Job Seekers evidence.

Yes, there are courses which we (and other providers) offer which you do have to pay for. It’s always worth asking the question of the business how much they cost. You might need to think about these a little more – will gaining a paid for qualification get you a promotion or a job which will bring in more money to your household? If so, in my opinion, then they are worth the outlay!

No business will begrudge you saying that they cost of a course is outside of your budget. Ask the question. Most training providers will be happy to answer your questions about their courses.

Location. Location. Location.

Maybe this is a higher priority for you than 4th in the list… feel free to swap it to where you think it comes in terms of priority.

For me, if the past 12 months have shown us anything, it’s how to work, learn and socialise remotely. From the comforts of our own home, under a blanket, in pjs if needs be! We all know how many businesses have adapted throughout the pandemic – if you don’t, I’d suggest you go and check their social media pages; we’ve all been shouting about it!

So many courses used to be unavailable for people; you can hardly expect someone from Penzance to attend a 9am training course in Newcastle the next day… but some courses are still location based. You need to look at this.

Online courses are great, but some will return to classroom based learning. This is why you need to check which they are and are they a reasonable travel distance for you?

If they’re not, that’s okay, you need to keep looking. I can almost guarantee that once you know what you are looking for, you will be able to find a course which is within a distance you are willing to travel.

The courses are out there – start searching!

One final thing to think about…

If you’ve been able to answer the above questions for yourself, you’ve probably found multiple places that offer courses which you’re interested in… so, how do you choose between them?

Look at the training providers themselves. You’re probably looking at their website, so take a look at their “about us” section. Hopefully this should tell you more about who the business is, and you should begin to get a feel for the company and if you would enjoy learning from them.

Some training providers are very professional in their approach and that works for many people, others are more relaxed and less formal which people may not like.

At Enable we are the latter, we aren’t what many would describe as a “formal” charity. We like people to get to know the whole team behind the business. We are a small charity with only a handful of staff, so this approach works for us. It can be difficult for larger organisations to achieve the same level of formality as us (don’t get me wrong, some do manage it!).

It’s all about what works well for you.

Don’t be afraid to ask the training providers questions such as:

  • “Who is the tutor for X course?” – Do they have a segment on their website introducing you to them?
  • “What contact would I have with the tutor?” – Is there a WhatsApp/Facebook group for you to speak to other learners and the tutor?

You need to know that you can work well with the provider to get the most from your course.

Following these simple steps should help you find the right course for you. Always remember to put what you want first. It is, after all, your course and your learning. You should want to get the most out of it.

In short; plan, research and ask questions!

The more you know the better you can make an informed decision. The more informed your decision is about your learning, the more likely you are to achieve your dreams and goals.

2020 A Year in Hindsight

Where to begin?

We can’t say that 2020 wasn’t a shocking year for all of us, but who would have thought this time last year that it would have turned out the way it did?! We certainly didn’t. In fact, this time last year we were very hopeful that we would be able to continue delivering courses as “normal”. We never would have guessed that schools and education centres would have been forced to close!

2020 Calendar

The beginning of 2020

January 2020 we set up for another exciting year of improving the lives of people in and around the East Midlands. We had courses planned, venues booked and it looked set to be a great year. Our staff were confident in their roles and we had got our work routine down to a T.

In February we started to get a little nervous… this pandemic seemed to be heading for our shores and other countries had shut down in order to stop the spread. We waited in anticipation of how this would affect us. While we waited, we didn’t sit still! We kept planning for a brilliant 2020; our courses were blooming, learners were excited, businesses looked forward to welcoming their apprenticeships etc. We knew one thing for sure, whatever this pandemic threw at us, we would be able to hit back!

I think it would be safe to say that the announcement in March was a blow to us all, mentally I think we all felt crushed that the country was to go into a “lockdown” situation. Do you remember that feeling as the announcement was made? I think we heard the entire country sigh as one. We had taken the decision the Friday before the announcement to have our staff work from home. The government announcement meant that some of our tutors needed to go on a steep learning curve to adapt their classes for online. Some of our tutors had never delivered a course via this method before. They all took it greatly in their stride.

The second half of March and the beginning of April was a busy time for us, many of our learners were contacting us in a desperate panic; wondering how this lockdown would affect their course and their prospects after their course. We were confident that our tutors would give them the best support ever – and boy, did they step up to the plate! By April all of our learners had been contacted and reassured that we would continue with their course where possible online. For those learners who were yet to start their community learning course, we made the decision that some of our courses could not go ahead as planned. We were devastated, but we had to look as to whether the online option would be suitable for those who needed additional support, and many may not have access to the internet.

Furlough

In April we made another difficult decision; to make some of our staff furloughed. This was a difficult decision for the management to make because the staff were happy to work from home and were still being productive, but with the cancellation of certain courses workloads had lightened. They knew that it wasn’t going to be easy on the staff who weren’t being furloughed as they would need to support the areas of the business the furloughed staff usually looked after.

We still didn’t sit still. We bid for more courses and more training opportunities. We realised that we could put some of the cancelled classes onto online courses with the right learners and the summer looked prosperous.

Even our furloughed staff didn’t sit still. While they were on furlough they attended training sessions for their areas of expertise They got involved in their local communities, and helped others through the lockdown situation and the pandemic. The volunteered. They got involved. They helped.

We really don’t sit still!

Busy street

Throughout the summer we had our Traineeship Tender Funding Call too. This was an exciting prospect for our members and other training providers to join with us to deliver traineeships in academic year 2020/21. This went out all over our website, social media and emails. We had a fantastic response!

Throughout the whole situation we had weekly Zoom catch ups with all the team (including those who were furloughed) where we discussed everything from the bids we were looking into, to the latest craft craze our ladies were enjoying (hint – if you haven’t tried Diamond Painting yet, you’re in for an addictive treat!)

Our furloughed staff rejoined us at the beginning of the summer holidays and we sure enjoyed having them back! It felt like the family coming back together again. There just wasn’t a lot of time for the reunion before we were back to the grindstone and working away as hard as ever as the 2019/20 academic year came to a close! And sadly, there were no friendly hugs in reunion.

2020 – New Office

In amongst all of this we moved offices – even now we aren’t quite sure where we found the time to do such things! We moved into our new office and we started to make it look like “home”. We had great fun decorating and sorting all of our equipment. Laying claims to our desk spaces and making the building look inviting to guests, visitors and learners alike.

It was clear by now that things needed to change for our brand new office space – our Risk Assessments needed updating! So our beautiful new office needed a revamp! We got straight to work marking out 2 metre “zones” on the floor to ensure our staff and visitors stayed safe while they were in the building. We’ve put hand sanitiser stations at the entrance to every room. We’ve created signage to ensure that people understand what we expect of them coming into the office. We’ve got our very own QR code for the NHS Track and Trace system and a paper form to be signed by those who do not have a smartphone (as not all of our learner do).

Our Health and Safety Officer, Sam, has worked bloomin’ hard to make sure that we are all safe when we venture into the office. We can’t thank her enough for all her hard work!

With all of this in place, we were all set to go back into the office in October. We had a schedule, everyone was to be in the office a maximum of 2 days a week and working from home for the rest of their hours… and then we heard the government were announcing another lockdown. We went back to working from home.

While we have enjoyed working from home (let’s face it, the commute to the “office” is a lot easier) we do miss the office chat and camaraderie. We miss hearing the shout of “I’m making a brew, who wants one?” We still have the weekly Zoom chats, and regularly keep in touch, but it’s not the same. We are hopeful that 2021 will see the return to the office for some if not all of our staff!

Looking forward to 2021

Throughout the entire of 2020, one thing that didn’t stop, nor change, was our passion for skills development and our support of our learners. Many of our tutors and mentors reported that they were supporting learners in more than just their subject. Tutors became more than educators, they became a friend, they became a shoulder to lean on (figuratively, of course) and they helped learners to alleviate the stress of 2020. We have kept working throughout the pandemic and we will continue to diligently work towards a better 2021 for learners across the UK.

2020 has taught us a lot, it has taught us how to be resilient in the face of the unknown. We hope to continue this outlook into 2021. As we face the third lockdown we know that we have the skills and opportunities to come back stronger than before.

Take a look at our Courses and Opportunities for more information on what courses are available online.