Lockdown brought challenges to everyone’s usual way of life. For learners, the issue was how they could access their education without being able to attend physically. Consequently, educational settings like tpm had to adapt their curriculum quickly. Lessons moved online, and blended learning took on new norms. However, not all learners have access to online learning. A survey by the National Union of Learners found that more than a quarter of learners did not have the equipment needed. Thankfully, Alex Gregory-Chialton, a long-standing associate of tpm, had a solution for tpm learners.
A Helping Hand
Alex is a trustee of The Pinecone Trust. The Trust is a Liverpool based charity, set up in 2015. The charity offers assistance to young people in Merseyside, Cumbria and Lancashire, to enable them to secure education or training. Alex mentioned to tpm Director Brian Quinn that they would be able to offer eligible learners in need access to an educational grant. Immediately, tutors identified learners who did not have access to a computer. The Pinecone Trust then supplied tpm with laptops for them. Following strict Covid safety guidelines, tpm director, Brian and Learner Support Lead Louise delivered the laptops to learners at their homes across the Liverpool City Region and the Wirral.
Accessing Online Learning
tpm also loaned some of its own laptops to learners who didn’t fit the charity criteria. The laptops have ensured that all tpm learners have access to online teaching, support and learning. Additionally, it has enabled remote assessments and meetings. It has meant that no learner has been disadvantaged. Childcare Advanced Apprentice LC explains that the charity-awarded laptop allowed her to continue learning:
“At first, I was always struggling to complete work from home, but tpm and the Pinecone Trust helped me to access my work. Receiving the laptop has allowed me to continue to work to achieve my level 2 childcare and my maths. Consequently, it has now helped me to progress onto my level 3 course, which I am currently working towards.”
The support given to learners by the Pinecone Trust has meant that tpm was even able to launch the #tpmontarget campaign. Brian Quinn issued a challenge to all staff and learners to be at least on target by the end of lockdown. Many apprentices found that their places of work had closed temporarily and the idea was to utilise this time to complete their ‘off the job’ training.
Childcare Advanced Apprentice KJ appreciated how the laptop helped her reach #tpmontarget:
“Receiving the laptop from The Pinecone Trust helped me to achieve my qualification as it gave me a chance to keep up to date with all my course work. I didn’t always have access to a computer before that, and I had worried I would fall behind.”
Making a Splash!
Staff at tpm were impressed with how learners met the #tpmontarget challenge. Many were determined to use the time to push ahead with their qualification. tpm tutors and teachers worked tirelessly to support learners at home. The help from the Pinecone Trust meant that the blended learning curriculum was incredibly effective. tpm built on this momentum with the ‘Making a Splash’ campaign. Making a Splash encouraged better resilience in learners by focusing on five key areas:
- Staying Power – never giving up
- Logic – taking a reality check
- Awareness – mindfulness and attitude
- Support – the network that keeps you going
- Health – the best version of you
The learners who had managed to stay on target during lockdown personified this resilience. Over 40 learners achieved their Apprenticeships this summer and autumn, and the overall company success rate was 2% higher than in 2019. The Pinecone Trust offered ‘Support’ for many learners when they needed it. Moreover, it allowed them to increase their ‘Staying Power’.
A big ‘Thank You’ to everyone at The Pinecone Trust from all at tpm.