As we gradually return from lockdown, I want to thank you all for the tremendous teamwork we have enjoyed over this challenging period. The College buildings have changed to introduce one-way systems, screened off areas to protect the front-line staff in reception and everywhere you look you can see anti-bac gel.
As we finalise assessments for students who are completing their programmes this year and plan for our new intake next year, it is important that every member of staff has a full understanding of the range of things we have put in place to help keep us safe from Covid-19. The Covid-19 training, which is referred to in this newsletter, is mandatory for all staff because adapting buildings and anti-bac won’t work unless our behaviours change to adhere to the restrictions we have put in place to mitigate the risk of Covid-19. Part 3b of the training engages each member of staff to consider how these things will work in each role and team and encourages everyone to play their part and contribute to creating a safe space, where staff and students can feel safe and secure in the knowledge that we will continue to follow Government guidelines as we gradually return from lockdown.
We will still be required to follow some restrictions in all walks of life, as we adapt to a world where Covid-19 remains an unwanted visitor. I look forward to seeing you all again soon and once again, thank you for your commitment and support.
With warm wishes,
Curriculum Team Updates
The Animal Management team is actively using Microsoft Teams to support students and the department’s weekly ‘student challenges’ continue to enrich learning with a range of activities that also alleviate the boredom of lockdown. These have so far included baking, drawing and gardening, next up is fancy dress! As the academic year is drawing to a close and final assessments have been completed, lots of tutors are receiving messages of thanks from their students.
Business Administration Apprentice, Jordan is getting on well with his Apprenticeship at the Countess of Chester Hospital. As an Admin Assistant, Jordan has refreshed his computer skills, gained new administration knowledge and has been awarded a promotion to further his career prospects. Jordan said: “I would definitely recommend Wirral Met College as it has enabled me to get a fresh start in a career, and a qualification at the same time.” Well done Jordan!
Painting and Decorating Apprentice, Sarah is currently splitting her role due to the current lockdown, from making our local hospitals look fabulous to assisting the NHS’ estates department with deliveries of PPE… all whilst working on her NVQ. Great work Sarah!
Childcare & Early Years
Well done to Early Years student Tess, who has been awarded ‘Student of the Month’ for successfully gaining a job following her placement at Small Steps in West Kirby.
Congratulations to CACHE Mental Health Certificate student Jane, who has secured a new role in a local primary school, working with children with mental health concerns. Jane said “Wirral Met’s efforts have been appreciated and have helped me on the way.”
Computing & IT
The Computing & IT team has been developing our virtual learning environment (VLE) to create fantastic resources and software available on the VLE, to enable students to start work on next year’s modules, making sure they keep skills up to date during lockdown. Tutor Dave has also been producing YouTube videos for students to follow.
Engineering & Motor Vehicle
The Engineering & Motor Vehicle department has not just been supporting learning; the team has been providing fun family quizzes for their students and their most recent winner, Ben, not only got every question right, he also correctly gave the name of New Brighton’s Clown – Pieriot! Well done Ben.
Hairdressing, Beauty Therapy & Wellbeing
Hairdressing students have been practising their skills and student Catherine has been creating YouTube and Instagram videos demonstrating everything she has learnt on her level 2 course, including: cutting, colouring, setting and dressing.
Students have also been getting in touch with tutor Jaki with thanks and praise for keeping them motivated, on track with their studies and keeping structure in their lives at these strange times, Jaki added: “This is why I teach, to make a difference in learners’ lives.”
Health & Social Care
We are pleased to share that Health & Social Care student Chelsea has been offered a place at Liverpool Hope University to study BA (Hons) Special Educational Needs and Disability Studies. Chelsea has worked so hard and overcome so many hurdles along the way. We are very proud of you Chelsea!
Progression to FE
Students Luke and Leon have both worked very hard to complete two units over the last few weeks. Well done to Luke who has now completed his qualification. Leon only has one more unit to complete – go Leon!
The Science team was thrilled to learn that Access to HE Student Eleanor has been offered a Degree Apprenticeship with a multi-national chemical company. Eleanor had already obtained a full set of offers from her UCAS application, but this was always her preferred option. We are particularly proud of Eleanor as she was previously one of our level 2 apprentices with the NHS (laboratory section) and won the Wirral Met Apprentice of the Year award. It is wonderful to see her progression over the past few years and we wish her all the best in the future.
One of our Biology Tutors, Matt, offered to help foster two of our Animal Management team’s hamsters whilst the College’s campuses were closed and says he and his family “have really enjoyed getting to know these house guests”. Dusty and Heath have been making the most of their time during lockdown, each having half an hour every evening to run around their kitchen – separately, of course, as he only wants to return two hamsters back to the College. Matt said “Dusty is quite energetic and dominant, whereas Heath is calm and chilled”. Thanks for taking such good care of them!
We recently celebrated #VolunteersWeek, which is a chance to celebrate the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering. The Students’ Union team has been encouraging students to share their volunteering activities.
Creative Media Production student Jennifer volunteers at Arrowe Park Hospital's Radio Station, Arrowe Sound, helping to entertain patients, staff and the community. Jennifer says the best thing about volunteering is "knowing she's giving back.” Well done Jennifer!
Go the Distance Challenge
The Students’ Union team is proud to announce that they have signed the College up to the Association of College’s #GoTheDistance challenge. The challenge aims to get students and staff active during COVID-19 and encourages us all to engage in physical activity, whether it’s a walk in the park, a 5k run or a 10-mile cycle. Visit the AoC’s website to register and get involved with prizes to be won! Don’t forget to keep the Marketing team updated with your challenge.
Business Support Team Updates
Firstly, thank you for sharing your acts of kindness and your active challenges from Mental Health Awareness Week, some of the acts and challenges that staff have shared can be found on our social media channels.
Kindly shared by our Director of Student Services, the Samaritans have launched a web based self-help app that offers practical ways to cope and stay safe if you or someone you know is going through a difficult time. The app features a mood tracker to allow people to record how they feel and recommends coping techniques and activities based on how you are feeling from muscle relaxation to breathing and written exercises.
New 19+ Course Guide Launch
Our new 19+ Course Guide showcases the full-time, part-time, degree and university level courses available at Wirral Met for 2020-21. Please share this with any family or friends who are looking to learn a new skill, expand their career prospects or explore university level courses.
Virtual Open Day
Our first Virtual Open Day took place on Wednesday 24 June 2020 from 3pm to 7pm and was a real success attracting even more students than the campus based open event at the same time last year. The Open Day involved live FE and HE presentations, videos, virtual campus tours and Live Chats with curriculum areas. Sessions included information about student life at Wirral Met, additional learning support, financial support, applying online and next steps.
Online Enrolment Plan 2020/21
We have developed a fully on-line enrolment process for 2020/21 and details will be provided for all staff to understand how this operates.
The College has developed a robust strategy to implement a series of changes to mitigate the risks of Covid-19. This is detailed in a series of training sessions that all staff are required to complete which sets out:
Part 1 – Covid-19 general awareness of the virus.
Part 2 – How the College is managing the risks presented by Covid-19.
Part 3a – Detailed controls put in place to reduce risks when at College.
Part 3b – Teams working with their Manager to understand how this can be implemented in their role / team.
Training is mandatory for all staff and is designed to both reassure staff about the measures put in place to keep us safe at College and to be clear about the expectations of every member of staff in playing their part in this. We are currently developing training that will be part of student induction, in due course.