Published onMarch 24 2021
A year ago, who would have predicated the impact that Covid-19 would have on education delivery, not just in schools and colleges but also in the training sector? The challenges for delivering vital training during lockdown led to the creation of an innovative new training solution, as highlighted in the following article from the Amenity Forum.
We all know how vital education and professional development is, but in March last year it looked like all training bets were off. However, the adversities faced due to coronavirus restrictions have sparked creative thinking and collaborative work amongst educational establishments, training Providers and manufacturers pushing Amenity land-based training further than we would ever have imagined.
Awarding organisation Lantra is one establishment that has pioneered new online, e-learning training courses and approaches working in conjunction with training Providers, such as Progreen. These new courses enable individuals and businesses to access essential training and continued professional development (CPD) remotely from their offices or comfort of their own homes.
The integral course Safe Use of Pesticides (PA1), the foundation level for operators, went online last year. Louise Boothman of ProGreen says ‘The PA1 – Safe Use of Pesticides – has really revolutionised the training we can offer – whilst classroom training can still be done under COVID guidelines, this method of learning is proving highly popular - as candidates can undertake training & examination at a time to suit them – day or night. Also knowing they have access to the technical support of Progreen’s training department it gives them further assurance that there is help if needed’.
The world of training in the amenity industry continues, in this restrictive world, to undergo sea changes at all levels. Lockdown has also meant that training providers have needed to re-assess how they can safely support demands for the more practical hands-on courses such as Knapsack Spraying, PA6(AW) and PA2 Tractor Boom Spraying.
Once again working with awarding bodies & manufacturers, Progreen began offering one of the first web-based training sessions for PA6(AW) Knapsack Spraying in February – offering real time instruction, equipment demonstrations from Suppliers and video clips. This form of remote training allows candidates to benefit from classroom style training and interaction - whatever COVID restrictions they are under. The assessment still needs to be carried out one-on-one, but can be arranged with the training Provider or by the candidate to ensure the site location is suitable for themselves. The levels of interest for ‘online’ delivery in this area shows the brave new world we live in – all you need is a laptop, camera, Wi-Fi and the desire to learn.
David Fisher, Head of Industry Partnerships – Landscaping & Agriculture at Lantra, says ‘every day we are seeing the demands for training and CPD changing, and it is great to see this being embraced by the Amenity sector with both Providers and manufacturers, such as Cooper Pegler. They have been working closely together to not only deliver training courses but also other forms of CPD via workshops and updates. It highlights how closely the Amenity sector and members of the forum are working to ensure that access to education and professional development evolves to meet needs in these challenging times’.
Moving forward, training continues to change and there has never been a better time to take the advice of Dr John G Hibben – ‘Education is the ability to meet life’s situations’ and boy has the educational activities of our industry had to meet those situations in the last year!
As lockdown gradually begins to lift in the UK, this innovatively hybrid approach to training is expected to continue until restrictions fully lift. While the past year has shown how the industry can adapt to remote training, we look forward to welcoming Learners back to face-to-face training, with feedback emphasising that nothing replaces the experience.