Government advice concerning the coronavirus pandemic contains important guidance for us all. It is especially relevant to all of us operating in and around the care sector as we have a duty of care to ensure we protect both vulnerable service users and those staff supporting them.
Firstly, I can confirm that Access Skills is attempting to operate normally in terms of supporting our learners and responding to new training enquiries.
In line with government advice, we have now moved to supporting delivery of our services to our learners and their employers, with most of our staff now home-based. We have also postponed any planned assessor visits to our client employer locations whilst the current situation persists.
Fortunately for learners, this will not affect our ability to effectively support you on your programmes. Access Skills has always been innovative in the development of delivery models and our use of technology to support our learners. This investment now enables us to start new learners on programmes and continue to support you with normal service in these difficult and unique times.
Your emails will be responded to, you can continue to speak to members of the team and importantly if you are in “lockdown” yourselves, you have the opportunity to send us lots of work to review and assess!
Access Skills does try very hard to have a special relationship with our learners, and in difficult times such as these I am confident, we can continue to help each other to succeed in what are challenging times for us all.
We will continue to update you regularly on any relevant developments as they occur and of course, I would encourage you to contact us if you do have any questions or concerns you wish to discuss.
There are some points I would like to make which set out how we will support you:
Communicating with Access Skills
Emails to firstname.lastname@example.org are the easiest for us to handle in the current circumstances. You can of course, email any member of the team directly too if you prefer. If you wish to discuss a new programme for yourself or a team member, then please email: email@example.com
Telephone calls to the office (Tel 0121 510 2169 option 2) will be responded to by staff probably working remotely. Please note they are likely to be home-based so you can appreciate that all of us suffer from time-to-time with home broadband issues. (This usually happens for me when a favourite TV programme is about to be downloaded!!) If possible, please email in a request to call you back. If so, please indicate a time you are available to take the call and confirm the contact number, and also if you wish a specific member of the team to call you.
Social Media is also available and is regularly responded to by staff ….. here you may also get advice from other well-informed learners who have experienced similar issues to yourself.
The advice we are receiving is that we should not visit employers at the moment to undertake assessment observations. We are however happy to explore options with individual learners, who require observations to be completed urgently as they come towards the final stages of their programmes. It may be possible for us to observe practice remotely (particularly the Level 5 Programme) via Skype/video or recording. We will talk to learners about this in more detail where necessary.
Learners completing work
It is possible in many cases that the current situation may present more opportunity for learners to spend time completing and submitting work to us. In other cases, this may not be the case due to other competing considerations. Where you are having difficulties, please contact us to discuss these. Together I am confident we can work out a plan to keep you moving forward on your programme.
In responding to your submitted work, we are aiming to continue to return our assessor feedback to you in accordance with our normal agreed response times.
We will unfortunately, have restrictions placed on us in terms of the workshops we normally provide. However, our aim is to continue to offer workshops which learners can continue to participate in, but this will be via webinar link only at the current time. We will continue to communicate to you full information on these as they roll out in the coming weeks.
New training opportunities
As part of your contingency planning, you may wish to upskill staff members who will take on additional responsibilities. Please be assured that we are still enrolling and supporting new learners giving key staff the tools to develop even in these difficult circumstances, please call 0121 510 2169, option 1 for more information or email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
I hope you have found this helpful and reassuring.
CEO Access Skills.