Adult learners study through lockdown
17 June 2020
Adult learners in Norfolk have been able to continue their courses, online, despite lockdown – boosting their wellbeing and easing their isolation.
Within two weeks of lockdown starting, Norfolk County Council’s Adult Learning service ensured that all its 1,257 current learners were moved onto online classes. There are now 2,935 people learning online.
Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for communities, said: “We have supported people’s learning and wellbeing during lockdown, thanks to a swift move to online services. I pay tribute to the Head of Adult Learning, Denise Saadvandi and her team for achieving this, in difficult circumstances.
“This just shows what can be achieved and how, by improving the digital skills of people across Norfolk, we have been able to enrich their skills and wellbeing, through adult learning.”
Chris Starkie, chief executive of New Anglia Local Enterprise partnership, said: “Adult education is more focused than ever on the needs of our economy and it is essential people continue to have the opportunity to learn and develop news skills online.
“As well as increasing people’s employability and teaching the skills required by our growing sectors, the digital provision of these courses has improved wellbeing and provided a sense of connection during a period of isolation.”
During lockdown, the adult learning service has also:
- Supported 126 apprentices to continue learning online
- Supported people on GCSE and functional skills courses, with grades being submitted for approval to the awarding bodies for 99 adult GCSE learners and 430 functional skills learners
- Delivered “creation in isolation” online courses and held virtual coffee mornings, so that people remain socially connected
Norfolk County Council is one of a handful of councils which has kept its adult learning service fully operational during lockdown and other local authorities have been in touch to see how it achieved this.
A number of learners have expressed their appreciation of the service and, in particular, learners who live in rural areas have welcomed the benefits of being able to learn from home.
Rachel Money, who is studying a health and social care level two course online, said: “At first, it was quite daunting, to be honest with you, because I’ve never learnt online, I’ve always learnt in classrooms.
“But once you get the hang of it it’s quite easy and I feel that it’s more suitable for my needs – I have my kids and I work as well, so I can fit it around everything and that’s a bonus.”
Adult Learning will continue to offer a range of online courses that provide people with new knowledge and skills, as well as the opportunity to stay connected and build their confidence as they take that next step in their lives.