We caught up with HETAS Training and Technical Support Manager Mike Harvey on the current situation with HETAS training as the lockdown eases in some regions and centres look at ways to provide training that works for you.
This time last year things were normal; everyone would be getting back into the swing of things following a few days at Hearth & Home in Harrogate. For me, visiting HETAS training centres, observing training, meeting installers and sweeps and listening to what was going on in the industry on the tools and where our sector is headed with regards to clean air, appliance design and fuel. Summer came and went, autumn, winter, bonfire night and Christmas. New Year 2020 full of promise and resolutions; oh and Brexit, how can we forget that……?
Easily throw a global pandemic into the mix….unprecedented….. a word used more in the past six months than I can ever remember. It’s been difficult for all – an understatement by any stretch of the imagination.
Through COVID 19 the teaching and learning landscape has changed dramatically in all areas.
The current situation is shining a light on the importance of opening up access to learning through technology for all learners whatever their needs or circumstances. Anecdotal evidence from a recent survey sent to HETAS registrants suggests that new delivery approaches and the use of different digital media may remove barriers to their learning. For others lack of tech and connectivity or familiarity may create barriers to learning. Overall a blended approach came out as the best approach; ensuring learning at a distance could be supplemented by hands on learning and assessment.
Schools, colleges and training centres have had to adapt their teaching methods; incorporating various online resources in a bid to keep their students engaged. Teacher, learner and parent! having to adapt to the virtual classroom, not an easy task, technology is great and I should imagine the majority of you reading this have become quite adept in the use of Zoom, Whatsapp, Microsoft Teams, and whatever else is being used however you can’t beat being in a classroom face to face with the trainer and the rest of the class, whether doing practical exercises or a session of theory, sharing anecdotal experiences and bouncing ideas off one another. Yes, you can do that to some effect in the virtual room but if we consider the 7-38-55 rule; a concept concerning the communication of emotions. The rule states that 7 percent of meaning is communicated through spoken word, 38 percent through tone of voice, and 55 percent through body language, yes give me the classroom or practical area above anything else.
So what does this mean for HETAS training?
HETAS accredited training centres across the UK and Ireland have since lockdown been following government advice and ceased training activities; HETAS offers support through individual conversations with our registrants so as to ensure continuation of business registration when considering the difficulties in meeting Refresher training requirements.
We have been working with our centres and trainers; investigating ways in which to deliver some of the aspects of training in a virtual classroom using Zoom or other technologies, ‘blended learning’ with a view to attending the centre for practical assessment, ensuring social distancing measures are in place, whether this comes to fruition entirely is dependent on how long we find ourselves in this situation. The mechanics of centres and staff differs from centre to centre, some may be able to offer the virtual learning environment whilst others may be able to offer reduced attendance, a maximum amount of people in the room, ensuring all appropriate measures are in place following issued guidance at the time. Risk assessments, PPE, Social distancing etc.
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How will this experience change HETAS training? What will happen when the lockdown is further relaxed? Will there be a sigh of relief and an automatic reversion to the previous ways of working? Or will the use of technology and the digital training skills carry through into business as usual?
As yet we don’t have all the answers; in time as we revert back to some sort of normality there will be an opportunity to reflect on these issues and to evaluate what has been learnt – both in respect of our training practice and the opportunities for learners.
Let’s hope that it won’t be too long before we return to some kind of normal – whatever that may be. I look forward to catching up with many of you, from an acceptable distance of course, as I visit our training centres over the coming year.
As lockdown eases in some regions, training centres are increasing their provision of training. Contact your training centre to find out more. These dates and timings are subject to change.
Gastec Training & Assessment Centres Ltd – training currently available
From July onwards:
Kiwa Training Centre – training available from 6th July
From August :
Get in touch with your local or preferred training centre to discuss your requirements and the measures in place to support your training needs.