Derry firm crafts generous solution to local trainees’ lockdown difficulties

When remote education became part of life in recent months, a local education and training facility stepped up to the mark to make life easier for trainees.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 12:20 pm

Craft Training in Springtown offers qualifications for 16 to 24 year olds.

When lockdown hit, they found that a lot of those undertaking the qualifications didn’t have access to devices at home, with some also unable to access wifi. Many also only had one device a, which was being used by a sibling.

Manager Peter Reid told the Journal how all at the facility put their ‘heads together’ to see how they could help.

Mr Seamus Nelis, CEO who organised the laptops and care packages for the young people.

From a pastoral care perspective, they were worried that if the trainees weren’t engaging with the course - due to not being able to access online - they would be seen as dropping out of it.

In turn, they would then lose their training allowance.

“We were really worried about that. We wanted to make sure they were able to engage with it. We did some research and found that many didn’t have a device at home. Some didn’t have a smartphone or a phone at home and others didn’t have wifi. We put our heads together to see what we could come up with.”

After researching the best solution, the team found they were able to purchase around 100 laptops, dongles and other ‘bits and pieces’ that would allow those undertaking a qualification to complete it

They brought the trainees in, on a one to one, Covid 19 compliant basis and taught them how to use the laptops and the virtual classroom. The young people then took the laptops home and were able to undertake their course online.

Software was also installed on the laptops and this ensured the team could access them remotely if any of the trainees needed more information or support.

Alongside this, the staff at Craft Training also made up care packages and food packs for the students, as they couldn’t access the breakfast club and lunches they provide.

Additionally, those undertaking apprenticeships also found they were running into difficulty as many of the businesses they were employed in had closed due to Covid 19 restrictions.

The team worked hard and ensured each of the apprentices were moved into other areas, in which they were guaranteed the hours they needed.

Peter said: “The whole idea behind it all was that we wanted to make sure they could all continue the course, but also look after their wellbeing, as that is so important too.”