With the college closed for the foreseeable future and the majority of its 900 staff working remotely from home, we wanted to share some recent news stories, highlighting how life and learning at the College continues.
“Spirit of learning carries on in DCT’s first ever wholly virtual staff conference”
Undeterred by the closure of its sites in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, the College pioneered its first ever virtual staff development conference delivered entirely online.
There were a range of sessions available for staff throughout the day; including live events such as: “Ten awesome tools to help with remote learning” delivered by Mark Anderson the ICT Evangelist which was “attended” by 240 staff as well as sessions on “How to get the most out of Power Bi” and “How to assess an IQA Apprenticeship standard”. With 545 people participating throughout the day the event was heralded as a resounding success. Many of the activities proved to be so successful they will now become a part of a regular programme accessible to staff and students while the college remains closed.
Most impressively the event was pulled together in just three days by the college’s Standards Team; which is made up of staff who are Outstanding Practitioners in their fields. After initially anticipating the conference would be cancelled in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis the team came together to rescue the day, and in conjunction with the college’s E-learning Team put together a new programme of activities that could be delivered without the usual face-to-face activities.
Commenting on the success of the day Chief Executive and Principal Neil Thomas said:
“The fact we were able to deliver a staff development event in these difficult times is testimony to the resilience of staff here at Dudley College. In fact, it proved so successful we aim to make more of our staff development activities available in this way. There are a number of advantages; in that we can record the events and make them available online to all staff, so they can access them at a time and place to suit them and of course we are not constrained by the size of our rooms.”
“Supporting the wider community”
Kind-hearted staff and students at Dudley College have come together to support their local community by fundraising for local foodbanks.
The College has joined the national ‘FE Foodbank Friday’ campaign, which is seeing FE organisations around the country coming together to raise money for community foodbanks – many of whom are seeing a decline in volunteers and donations at this challenging time and are in need of support.
To support the campaign, Dudley College is working in partnership with The Black Country Food Bank to encourage staff to make an online donation equivalent to the cost of daily cup of coffee, for the period in which the college is closed. The money raised for The Black Country Food Bank will help vulnerable individuals and families in crisis through the provision of emergency food supplies.
Dudley College is 1 of 10 further education colleges involved in the campaign nationally.
Neil Thomas, Chief Executive and Principal of Dudley College says “We are living in difficult times and never before has it been more important to help one another. The impact of COVID-19 has significantly affected the way in which foodbanks are able to operate. As a college, we hope to demonstrate how a little good can come out of every crisis by uniting with other colleges across the UK to support local communities in need of our help. Our Student’s Union has supported the work of the Black Country Foodbank for many years, so joining in with this campaign is naturally something we are keen to do.”
The college aims to raise over £1,000 of funds during the next two months to support the campaign and when campuses re-open, foodbank bins will be provided so goods can be collected and forwarded to the Black Country Foodbank’s distribution hubs across the region.
To donate to the Dudley College FE Foodbank Friday campaign click here. Or to donate to Black Country Foodbank click here.
“Supporting our frontline NHS staff”
As a college, we have also looked for any opportunities where we can provide direct support to the amazing work of the staff across the NHS. We have been working with employer partners including Thomas Dudley Ltd and Metallisation to help produce PPE for NHS front-line staff, using some of our 3D printing capabilities. As well as supplying other much needed resources as required. You can see details here.
We have also been operating our Construction Apprenticeship Training (CAT) Centre, at the Waterfront in Brierley Hill as a centre for the West Midlands Ambulance Service who are using it to recruit over 600 new emergency call handlers to their service. More details can be seen here.
We are now working with the Association of Colleges on a scheme to provide ‘reserve’ staff to support the NHS in a variety of ways, which will be rolled out over the coming days and weeks.
Tapping into the skills and expertise of our staff and students, we have encouraged them to use their abilities in volunteering ventures, including the provision of key services to vulnerable adults across the community. In some cases, students who were on work-placements, for instance in care-homes, have continued to offer their services.
In addition, Enterprise Rental Vehicles are using college car parks as a local venue to supply transport solutions as part of their support to local communities.