16.04.2020 FET Sector Covid 19 Response
The Coronavirus crisis has turned our lives upside down. Our educational/professional, home and social lives have changed beyond recognition. Day by day, each of us is learning to navigate a new and challenging world. We’re all being called on to rise to this new challenge, each in our own way.
You will know the advice by now – stay home, adhere to social distancing and wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands! And while we continue to slow down and stay home in order to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the most vulnerable people around the country, we also see creativity, flexibility and resourcefulness pop up everywhere we turn.
While we change and adapt to limit our physical movement and interaction, people everywhere are changing and adapting to increase our virtual access and interaction.
Life has not stopped. It’s just taken on drastically new forms. New ways of communicating with our friends and family, new ways of continuing our learning and creative expression.
Across the further education and training (FET) sector too, we’re adapting to the new reality. We’ve been working hard to ensure that we can continue to offer learning and training opportunities wherever possible, as well as support the national effort to combat this disease.
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Courses Moving Online
Educational Training Boards (ETBs), who oversee the provision of further education and training in their area, have now begun to run courses online, making sure that current learners can continue learning throughout of the Covid-19 crisis. From webinars to Zoom, we’re delighted to see each ETB facilitate their learners, apprentices and tutors with online learning.
Supporting our Healthcare Professionals
The FET sector is also helping to develop the skills around the country required in the national effort to combat this pandemic and protect people as best we can.
For example, Laois Offaly ETB is currently providing bitesize online training in Infection Prevention and Control to people who have particular qualifications, which will increase the number of frontline staff tackling the crisis.
We’ve also heard from ETBs who have donated their personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline workers, and from others who 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.
Across the sector, our organisations and our people are showing immense innovation, adaptability and solidarity, and are working hard to provide all possible help that they can.
Community education is very important in these challenging times. We understand that for parents with difficulties in reading and writing, helping children with their schoolwork can be tough. The National Adult Literacy Association (NALA) is offering free, over-the-phone training on topics ranging from fun learning resources, to support for those who may need help understanding health information.
AONTAS has developed a useful resource on their website to help learners, tutors and the community.
We’re proud to be part of the national effort during this crisis and we look forward to continuing to support learners, ETBs and employers when the crisis has passed.
Further education and training will be essential to helping Ireland recover. We look forward to playing our part in helping people begin their careers, return to employment and upskill for our shared future.