We were delighted to welcome Gillian Keegan MP, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, for a virtual tour of our online learning provision this week.
The Minister joined Chief Executive Gill Alton OBE, Principal Debra Gray and Deborah Millar, Group Executive Director of Digital Learning Technologies, for the tour, which took in remote classes such as Level 5 Engineering, Level 2 Childcare, FdSc Animal Management and GCSE Maths.
Preparation for remote teaching and learning has been building over the last four years however, in the weeks leading up to lockdown on March 23rd, efforts increased to ensure staff and learners were ready to face the new challenge.
As Deborah explained: “When we realised we’d be going online we made sure staff were informed, had checklists covering everything they needed to know and built an online guide to teaching and learning remotely.
“Once it happened, we went full steam ahead supporting the learners. We had IT delivering digital devices to learners and staff where possible and success coaches and tutors were all about learner wellbeing, checking on those who weren’t logging in. It was all about creating this family, this community.
“What I’m really proud of is the way some areas have really gelled together as what we call family. At a time like this, everyone needs family, and some of those learners perhaps don’t have the structured homelife of others. So, when they log on that day to see that familiar face, that person who gives them encouragement, it keeps them going. We’re very aware of that at the Grimsby Institute, and our staff have done some incredible things to connect with our learners.”
Mrs Keegan welcomed the “innovation and enthusiasm” shown by the Grimsby Institute during the lockdown period.
“I really enjoyed my virtual visit to Grimsby Institute and seeing the brilliant work that is going on to help learners continue their studies across a wide range of courses online,” she commented.
“From chatting with staff and dropping into a range of online lessons, you can clearly see that innovation and enthusiasm have kept the show on the road for their learners, bringing some much needed structure and sense of community during what is a difficult time.
“As someone who has worked in the tech sector I know it is a great leveller which creates huge opportunities for young people. Everyone at Grimsby Institute is doing a great job at adapting to this new way of studying and the technical skills students will have gained during this period will serve them so well as they move forward and look for jobs. Thanks to all for arranging such an interesting visit and I can’t wait to come and visit again in person.”
Institute Chief Executive Gill thanked the Minister for the virtual visit, adding: “We’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and we really look forward to hosting a further meeting in future, whether virtually or in person.
“We are incredibly proud of our team, who do an outstanding job in supporting students and staff and have just transformed what we do to another level.
“We work on a philosophy of work hard, play hard and be nice, and I think that has held us in really good stead for the whole of this approach, which didn’t come as a tsunami to us because of the work that’s been done to lay the foundations over a period of time. It wasn’t easy for everybody but the motivation to do the best for learners took over and everybody has engaged incredibly well.
“We also have really high aspirations for our learners. Wherever they’ve come from, we want them to be the very best that they can be and that feeds through every aspect of college. Everyone wraps around to help our learners reach and exceed their full potential.”