Leeds College of Building is celebrating its impressive online lesson delivery to mark Colleges Week 2020 (19 – 23 October).
In response to the global Covid-19 pandemic, the College needed to react rapidly to ensure continuity in course tuition. This has been a massive undertaking given the practical elements of many of the courses on offer.
Today, 100% of the College’s Faculty of Built Environment & Engineering Services lessons are taught online via Microsoft Teams, with students only attending College in person for specific practical sessions. Across the rest of the College, a third of all lessons are offered remotely via live streaming or pre-recorded lessons alongside blended learning to keep to normal timetables.
Nikki Davis, Vice Principal at Leeds College of Building, said “We aim to ensure that all our students, regardless of age, background, or circumstances, are properly equipped with the skills they need to achieve their ambitions in a dynamic construction industry. This ambition is more important than ever as colleges will be where people who are out of work turn to retrain for a new job opportunity or think about upskilling as the job market changes.
“As the UK’s only specialist further education construction college, we offer subjects that are understandably very hands-on. This has presented many challenges in how we teach our students, especially those who are shielding or self-isolating. I’m delighted at how swiftly we’ve responded to change without compromising the quality of our education.
“Students without access to IT or with special education needs can speak to their tutors, and staff will ensure that access is provided, so no student misses out on their learning. English and maths staff are also providing lessons and targeted support for students through small group sessions online and in College.”
The celebration at Leeds College of Building is part of the third annual Colleges Week which takes place from 19 – 23 October, with hundreds of events expected to take place across England. The theme of Colleges Week 2020 is building communities, boosting businesses, and supporting people to get the training they need for the jobs of the future, serving local business and community needs.
Chris Tunningley, assistant faculty director for Built Environment & Engineering Services, said “The lecturers and assessors at Leeds College of Building have done a fantastic job. Staff adapted to online learning and virtual NVQ assessment for over 1,000 of our faculty’s students, many of whom are apprentices in industry.
“Other faculties are trialing moving to online teaching for theory sessions, and we are working to maximise any time spent in the building by class bubbles. By moving a significant proportion of our education online, we have massively reduced footfall at College for those subjects that need physical tuition in our specialist facilities.
“Our versatility means we haven’t been caught out by coronavirus, and students are on track and safe. This result is a credit to how fantastic our staff are at supporting students through the turmoil of recent months, working closely with awarding bodies, and being flexible with the needs of our employer partners.”
Bringing the whole further education community together, Colleges Week celebrates the impact of colleges on people, employers, and the economy. Leeds College of Building is a member of the Association of Colleges (AoC) which wants to see colleges and funding for them prioritised nationally and locally to aid the recovery from the pandemic that will be vital to the future success of the country.
David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said “This year has been unprecedented in every way, but colleges have risen to all the challenges thrown at them. Colleges Week is a celebration of all the amazing things colleges do day in day out for students, employers and communities. It’s also about recognising just how important colleges are as we rebuild for a better future through retraining, skills and education.
“Despite educating 2.2 million people every year, including more than 600,000 16 to 18-year-olds, colleges have been neglected in recent years. The Prime Minister’s announcement earlier this month to expand the training system with colleges at the heart of the skills agenda is welcome. All colleges need now is the investment from government to be able to support even more people and employers. That will improve the life chances of millions of people, but it needs college funding to be at the forefront of the upcoming spending review.”