Apprentice training hasn’t stopped during the current pandemic for the paint and panel industry, thanks to the use of online delivery platforms from training providers such as Kangan Institute.
According to Kangan Institute’s Manager of Commercial Vehicle and Engine Technology, Gavin Cribb, Autobody apprentices have not missed any blocks of training during COVID-19. “Our virtual campus has been extremely well received and some classes have more than 90% attendance which is fantastic. The feedback we are getting from employers is that apprentices are engaged and enjoying the training programs.
“From the beginning it has been a priority to maintain engagement with our most vulnerable employees. The online platform was developed and implemented in just two weeks, after the initial restrictions in March. Since then, we have maintained the existing training calendar with minimal disruption to apprentices or their employers,” said Cribb.
“The teaching staff in particular have done an amazing job. New IT infrastructure, new hardware and new technology is a huge leap forward and to be able to turn it around in just weeks is a real credit to our Autobody team.”
Until the first week of August Kangan Institute still had students on campus, however an extensive amount of work, such as aligning risk assessments to health requirements, has ensured classes can continue online in a COVID environment.
The blended delivery model is underpinned by the theoretical component being delivered via a virtual classroom and the practical component is completed on campus. This allows the Institute to maintain the necessary progress with apprentices, while adhering to social distancing and COVID-19 health and safety requirements. The new way of teaching has worked so well that some these new platforms will be incorporated into 2021 planning.
More recently, with Stage 4 lockdowns, more course delivery has been moved online in response to government guidelines with students quickly adapting to the new way of studying.
“Apprentices still get to catch up with their mates, so it is a social atmosphere where they can interact as if they were physically in the class. There’s a great deal of value in this because apprentices feel more comfortable about the platform and less like a robot behind a screen,” added Cribb.
“Surveys from both employers and students have been encouraging and although the virtual classroom will never replace campus delivery, it will provide a lot of flexibility and support once the restrictions have eased.”
Editor: It is not surprising the Kangan Institute’s Automotive Centre of Excellence is once again at the forefront of apprentice training and development during the coronavirus-induced shutdowns this year. I have no doubt this will change the way we do things in the foreseeable future.