SECTT has secured funding from SELECT, SJIB and EETF to provide electrical apprentices and trainees with loaner laptops. This will allow them to continue their studies online during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The switch to digital training for the electrical sector has been key for teaching apprentices and trainees during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, some of those new to the industry are unable to afford the equipment to continue with their studies, putting poorer industry newcomers at a disadvantage. That’s why the new loaner laptop scheme is important.
Anne Galbraith, CEO of SECTT, noted, “When we went into lockdown, it soon became clear that some apprentices were suffering digital poverty and couldn’t continue their studies online.
“A SECTT survey found that 55 of our current 2,750 apprentices and trainees had no access to a laptop, tablet or similar equipment, so we felt we had to do something to support them.
“With no funds available to electrical apprentices, the SECTT Board of Trustees agreed that we should help and our colleagues at SELECT, the SJIB and the EETF immediately contributed towards the purchase of laptops.”
The first loaner laptops were distributed to apprentices and trainees across Scotland in July, in accordance with social distancing regulations. These laptops will be available for students to continue their studies online until colleges reopen, which is expected to happen during August and September.
One of the first recipients was Darren McLay from Cumbernauld-based ID Systems UK, who said, “With the college and public libraries being closed I haven’t been able to continue with my college work. I’m therefore grateful to SECTT for lending me this laptop so I can now get on with things properly.”
Galbraith added, “In the short term, these measures will benefit our current apprentices until we can return to face-to-face learning, and will also play a part in learning and training in the future.
“This difficult and enforced situation has taught us that we can cover some topics remotely and we should use this platform as a support for all apprentices and trainees going forward.”
Plans are currently being formalised for apprentices in all stages to return to college in August and September. Once they have completed their training, SECTT will focus on recruitment and supporting employers.
Alan Wilson, SELECT managing director, commented, “We were delighted to be able to contribute to this extremely worthwhile cause. The past four months haven’t thrown up many good news stories, so it’s good to be talking about something positive like this for a change.”
Fiona Harper, The Secretary of the SJIB, concluded, “We were also more than willing to contribute to this project and have been encouraged to see the impact it has made already. There is obviously no substitute for face-to-face learning, but this lifeline will help the next generation until colleges can open properly once again.”