Activate Learning: Preparing for T Levels – why training and communication are key

Activate Learning is a collection of seven colleges (Banbury and Bicester, Bracknell and Wokingham, City of Oxford College, Farnham College, Guildford College, Merrist Wood College and Reading College) that uses its reach to bring progressive change and impact through learning.

This year, Activate Learning will be running Digital and Health and Science T Levels across their main sites at Oxford and Reading, with delivery supported by staff from the wider group. The key to the successful roll out of T Levels is the knowledge, training, and preparedness of staff across the colleges, as well as timely communication around T Level Professional Development (TLPD) and updates from the awarding organisations.

Elizabeth Riley, one of the Learning and Development Managers for the Applied Learning Foundation (ALF), has been working on workforce development with ETF Area Relationship and Development Lead, Zoë Card. Elizabeth explains how they have approached the task of effective communication and support for colleagues across the group:

“Here at Activate Learning we’ve put together a SharePoint page to promote T Levels to staff. The T Levels page is part of the ALF SharePoint site, which contains a wealth of resources, training opportunities and useful information.

The T Levels page has all the links from the ETF signposting staff to training. It has a simple guide to the steps to take to become T Level ready and it has links to the relevant awarding organisations for the T Level routes that Activate Learning is undertaking in 2021. Staff can navigate their way through the ETF’s TLPD offer and awarding organisation’s training on this platform, which is regularly updated with bulletins and resources from these organisations. 

We’ve also used the events calendar within SharePoint and Teams to promote the Individual Training Needs Analysis (ITNA) sessions for staff, and other training that ran throughout December, January and February.”

Working with Activate Learning, Zoë has been supporting the workforce development programme by understanding the group’s training needs through the completion of the Training Needs Analysis. Organisational Training Needs Analysis (OTNA) took place with strategic leads in Summer of 2020, feeding into Implementation Plans and strategic planning for the launch of T Levels. Following on from this, ALF staff across the group have now attended facilitated ITNA sessions, giving staff access to personalised resources and recommended training from across the TLPD offer. As a Relationship and Development Lead, Zoë knows how important it is for staff at all levels within a learning provider to acknowledge that “you don’t always know what you don’t know”, and therefore these processes are invaluable for identifying gaps and accessing support.

Zoë and Elizabeth are now working on training journeys for staff, tailoring the TLPD offer to different roles to include governors, directors, current and new teachers, and support staff. Not only will staff have training plans in place from now until December 2021, but they will also be encouraged to participate in wider activities to build collaboration and upskill within their industries.

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