New year, same us: what to expect from Skills Forward in 2021

It’s true that some of the challenges from 2020 seem to have followed us into 2021. At the time of writing we’re currently in another nationwide lockdown, meaning that  education establishments are closed except for children of keyworkers or those who are classed as vulnerable. Although necessary to keep us all safe from COVID-19, it’s important to recognise that time out of school, college or university is having an undeniable effect on mental health.

We’ve been here before and the lessons we learned from previous lockdowns and isolation will undoubtedly serve us this time round. We have more tools at our disposal, and we can be secure in the knowledge that we’ve done this all before and we can hope to apply the same determination to do it again. Most importantly, we’re bolstered by the roll out of the new vaccine that signals the clearest hope on the horizon yet.

As always, my biggest thanks to the healthcare providers, educators, and other keyworkers who are keeping our country moving and our children educated.

What’s coming up for Skills Forward in 2021

We are continuing to support the sector with new, or enhanced, remote learning requirements. Many providers are seeing huge benefits to online approaches to teaching and assessment. Once face-to-face teaching resumes, many will embed a blended learning approach to ensure that students and educators can continue to reap the benefits whilst having access to the support offered by face-to-face delivery. 

Amongst the upward trend in providers who are seeking support, we have some exciting developments of our own that will improve the experience for new and current customers.

Skills Builder

Our initial assessment and resources for Essential Digital Skills are now live. Customers can request that Essential Digital Skills is added to their dashboard or book a demonstration by contacting eds@skillsforward.co.uk.

We’re also delighted to have added a new quality assurance dashboard to Skills Builder. The new reporting feature allows you to easily extract data to evidence your compliance with the Education Inspection Framework (EIF) to regulators. To explore this further, please contact quality@skillsforward.co.uk to book a session with one of the team.

The latest update to Skills Builder is our new initial assessment and resources for ESOL. The scenario-based resources range from entry 1 to level 2. Themes have been selected to replicate real-world situations and events including online safety, healthy social media habits and fact checking for fake news.

Lastly, we have infographic and live-action video tutorials to support learners’ skills development, as well as practice skills and summative assessments to test learner competency and ensure they successfully complete their individual skills plan. If you want to find out more about Skills Builder ESOL initial assessment and resources, you can contact ESOL@skillsbuilder.co.uk.

Skills Portfolio

The ability to record evidence and work remotely has never been more important and delivery staff and assessors have needed a central place to be able to assign work, track progress and review assignments. Skills Portfolio has been supporting centres around the UK to do just that. We’re working on some exciting improvements to our popular e-portfolio which will make efficiencies and improve your experience. Stay tuned for updates!

I wish you the very best for the year ahead and I hope we can support you in any way that we can. We’re all in this together.

All the best for this new year!

Dan Howard

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