Diane Dodds commends further education colleges for supporting learners during Covid-19
FURTHER education colleges have been praised for the action they have taken to maintain essential services and support learners during the Covid-19 crisis.
All six FE providers have rapidly introduced virtual learning so students, including apprentices, can continue their courses.
Economy minister Diane Dodds said she was "immensely proud" of the way the sector had stepped up to the challenges.
"The speed at which the six FE colleges have moved to provide remote learning clearly displays high levels of commitment, leadership, agility, innovation and resourcefulness, by a well-skilled and experienced workforce," she said.
"There have been around 50,000 online engagements with students, and learning continues in subject areas as diverse as software development, engineering, hair and beauty, plumbing and languages."
Colleges have also taken action to ensure pastoral support continues to be delivered to those who need it, while working to maximise access to remote learning for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
"Our colleges cater for a broad range of learners, some of whom may have limited or no access to a computer or broadband. College staff are doing all possible to help these learners overcome this barrier to education and going the extra mile, where they can, to ensure these learners do not miss out," Mrs Dodds said.
"From technical support to get set up with remote learning, to assistance with financial hardship, through to access to pastoral care and advice on physical and mental wellbeing, the colleges are providing invaluable services during this time."